Three people identifying as transexual have launched a class-action lawsuit against the state of Illinois claiming that its failure to change birth certificates unless applicants have undergone genital change surgery is unlawful.
MyFoxChicago reports the individuals in question, Lauren Grey, Victor Williams and Nicholas Guarino, all born in Illinois, have all undergone gender reassignment procedures to have their bodies comport with their gender identity. As such, they expected that they would be allowed to change their birth certificates to reflect this per the state’s Vital Records Act (VRA) which only appears to require a licensed doctor to sign off on the change of gender identity.
However the lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, says that Damon T. Arnold M.D., the state registrar and the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, has stopped the practice of amending birth certificates in this manner and since 2005 has required applicants to have undergone genital surgery, a threshold that is not present in the VRA.
The lawsuit continues that, for applicants like Grey, Williams and Guarino, this is in fact a harmful barrier because not all patients require genital surgery to achieve a resolution where there gender expression is concerned.
Further to this, the suit says that both Grey and Williams have amended their genders on all other pieces of identification except for their birth certificates which means that, in Guarino’s case for instance, this inconsistency prevents him from applying for a driver’s license or other identification in Texas where he now lives.
The suit goes on to say that this denial puts applicants at risk psychological and emotional harm.
The suit calls for a permanent injunction that the state grant new birth certificates with the amended genders of Grey, Williams, Guarino and all others affected. It also asks for court costs, attorney’s fees and an amount of monetary relief.
State officials have not yet responded.
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