Thursday, June 6, 2013

Around The Nation

District Of Columbia
D.C. City Council Moves Toward New Birth Certificates for Transgender People
John A. Wilson Government Building, Washington D. C. * file photo
WASHINGTON -- LGBTQ Nation has learned that the District Of Columbia's City Council is ready to pass legislation that would make it easier for transgender people to obtain new birth certificates reflecting their change in gender identity. The new law will ease a costly and bureaucratic system now in effect.
According to WRC-TV's senior political reporter Tom Sherwood, the council's Judiciary Committee voted this week to ease restrictions on gender identity changes, approving a proposal that would require only a certified statement from a medical doctor. Previously, a change would have required public notification in classified newspaper adverts and surgical requirements.
“D.C.’s law as it currently exists makes it really hard for trans people to get their vital records in line with who they really are,” said Andy Bowen, an activist with the DC Trans Coalition who helps fight discrimination in housing and jobs.
According to Bowen, currently the transgender community of about 500 people in D.C. faces tens of thousands of dollars in sex change operations as well as advertise name changes in local publications for three weeks.
“It makes it a financial difficulty for trans people, many of whom are low income and unemployed, and it’s also just archaic and makes no sense," she added.
If passed, the new law also would issue a new birth certificate rather than simply amending the old one. Amended birth certificates are clear tip-offs for more discrimination according to Trans activists.
“I'm proud that we are doing this during pride week,” Councilmen Tommy Wells said. 
“It's a time when we recognize equality among all District residents. I live in D.C. because of that progressive past and that progressive legacy and so this is just one more thing that makes D.C. an ideal place for transgender people and everybody to live.”
The full Council will get this bill in a few weeks. It's expected to pass easily.