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


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


Blair Maldonado
Blair Maldonado6 years ago

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??

Blair Maldonado
Blair Maldonado6 years ago

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

Beth M.
Beth M6 years ago

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

Frances N.
Frances Niquet6 years ago

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

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Winn Adams
Winn A6 years ago

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

Nance N.
Nance N6 years ago

Hopefully this will make their lives easier.

Leslea Herber
Leslea Herber6 years ago

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!

Fred Krohn
Fred Krohn6 years ago

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

Jennifer S.
Jennifer S6 years ago

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!