Transexuals Sue Illinois Over Failure to Amend Birth Certificates

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.


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


Laronna T.
Laronna T.7 years ago

The birth certificate states the true gender of the baby as observed.
Does anyone out there, think every baby should be tested to see if their hormones match the genitals?How about DNA testing from birth.?

Richard E Cooley
Richard E Cooley7 years ago

Time to change the laws to reflect our real world. I hope they win the right to have their certificates changed.

K s Goh
KS Goh7 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Barbara S.

Genital surgery, especially going from women to men, is extremely lacking - STILL - at this point. And, it's terribly expensive with no guarantee that the penis will look normal, nor that the penis will function properly, even to urinate. If I were one of the people born with the mind and feelings of the opposite sex, I wouldn't want that particular part of my body surgically changed unless I could be absolutely certain there wouldn't be the risks there presently are. I think IL should come into the 21st Century, and give these people equality.

Lilithe Magdalene

Time to change, Illinois!

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L7 years ago

We need federal laws. State by state is getting us nowhere on civil rights issues.

Alice B.
Alice B7 years ago

Brilliant - and if some of you don't think that a corrected birth-certificate makes a difference you need to think twice. What if *your* birth-cert said the wrong gender?

Drusilla P.
Drusilla P7 years ago

Um... this sure sound as if Damon Arnold has a problem.
I hope the people concerned win - and quickly!

Thanks for the info.

Norma J.
Norma J.7 years ago

I certainly hope that all states protect the statistics of each and every child born in the Unites States.
Any altered birth certificate needs to specify that it is an amended document and state why it has been altered from the original ... such as sex change of which is the substance of this lawsuit.
The petitioners that have had their genitals altered can not alter their DNA. Not gonna happen no matter how far the person goes to hide their true blood identity.

Tracey D.
Tracey D7 years ago

I hope they win their case and have their certificates amended.