START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
1,472,959 people care about Civil Rights

Ill. Issuing New Birth Certificates to Trans Litigants

Ill. Issuing New Birth Certificates to Trans Litigants


Three transgender residents of Illinois are to have their birth certificates amended to reflect their gender identity in a show of good faith by the state as part of an ongoing lawsuit.

The American Civil Liberties Union took to the courts in May on behalf of three Illinois citizens, Lauren Grey, Victor Williams, and Nicholas Guarino, to sue the state over its refusal to amend birth certificates for trans people unless applicants  underwent genital change surgery as certified by a United States-licensed physician. This is despite the fact that the three people in question had undergone other gender change procedures. This arbitrary standard, the ACLU argued before a Cook County Circuit Court judge, was imposed despite the state’s previous assurances that it would amend the policy.

Rather than filing a direct response, the state asked the judge to place a stay of action on this case, arguing that a new legislative rule to be acted on this fall would removed the requirement for genital change surgery.

Judge Michael Hay accepted the state’s request to stay action in the case but also said the state should, in advance of legislative action, issue amended birth certificates to Lauren Grey, Victor Williams, and Nicholas Guarino as a show of good faith. The state has said it will not challenge the order.

The ACLU has welcomed the fact that their clients will soon receive amended birth certificates — documents they have waited over five years to secure — but the ACLU also points out that no rule change has yet been made and so the larger problem may still persist.

More from the ACLU press release:

“We are pleased for our clients,” said John Knight, Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Project at the ACLU of Illinois.  Their new birth certificates will reflect who they are today, and avoid any potential embarrassment, harassment or possible harm.”

“At the same time, there has been no change in the rule as yet and even the proposed rule includes no clear assurance that the state will not continue to require transgender individuals to undergo unnecessary surgeries. The court’s ruling granting birth certificates applies only to our three clients,” added Knight. “We continue to believe that there must be a written agreement or court order — enforceable by law — preventing the state from continuing to require genital surgery before transgender individuals can obtain an accurate birth certificate.The state has given our clients assurance before that they would address this unconstitutional practice, only to return to it after some time passes. It is essential that we have an enforceable agreement to prevent that from happening again.”

A similar case has been filed in Alaska where the state’s arbitrary requirement of genital change surgery has meant a woman has been denied an amended driver’s license even when she has been able to change all her other personal identification documents including her pilot’s license. Click here for more information.

Related Reading:
U.N. Approves Resolution Against Anti-LGBT Discrimination
Transexual Woman Takes Marriage Fight to European Court of Human Rights
Ireland Introduces New Guidelines on Creating Safe & Supportive Schools for LGBT Students


Read more: , , , , , , , , ,

Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to brainchildvn.

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it


+ add your own
1:35PM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

if thats the case then i dont really understand the big issue..i mean they did this to themselves so why are they so upset about what people think about it?? and i dont understand why all of there sex information should be changed if thats not how they were born. sorry if i sound naive about the subject but i just really dont get it??

1:33PM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

im confused...these are people that used to be one sex and changed to a different sex right?

5:32PM PDT on Jul 24, 2011

Don't drop the lawsuit. It ain't over, til it's over.

2:51AM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

Vey interesting article. Hopefully there lives will be the way they want them to be

11:12PM PDT on Jul 22, 2011

Thanks for the article.

8:16PM PDT on Jul 21, 2011

All states should be doing this. It's the right thing to do.

2:54PM PDT on Jul 21, 2011

Hopefully this will make their lives easier.

10:57AM PDT on Jul 21, 2011

The reason the folks are getting the fixed certificates, is to shut them up. AND to prevent any actual correction to an outdated & oppressive policy. Until the policy is changed permanently, those certificates can be revoked on a whim and many others will be completely out of luck and the whole fight starts all over again.

As a "show of good faith" goes, it's an insult and inadequate to address the actual cause of the issue. DO NOT drop the case!

8:10AM PDT on Jul 21, 2011

Hopefully this will go through and help the TG people instead of being scammed by Obummer to get himself a 'legitimate' birth cert...

7:20AM PDT on Jul 21, 2011

This situation is not unusual. It just underscores the massive transphobia which is so prevalent today. Trans folks are not accepted in equal housing, job opportunities, and many social situations. For some reason, many people are unable to give some slack to trans people and accept them for who they are. Tragic!

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free

Recent Comments from Causes

Americans mistake Western movies for history, so much of this obsession with guns was really created…

Oregon was the first state to legalize doctor-assisted suicide and thus has the most experience in how…

Happy to hear that folks stepped up to help. All communities should have an emergency plan for anim…

meet our writers

Steve Williams Steve Williams is a passionate supporter of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) rights, human... more
ads keep care2 free

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!