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California allows trans people living in other states to amend birth certificates Staff Writer April 15, 2009
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Trans people with California birth certificates who live in other states can now change their birth certificates to reflect their real gender, a Court of Appeal ruling has decided.

Previously, only current California residents could amend their California birth certificates.

The case was brought by the Transgender Law Center (TLC) on behalf of Gigi Marie Somers, a 67-year-old trans woman who was born in California and now lives in Kansas.

Ms Somers underwent sex reassignment surgery in 2005 and has lived as a woman for a decade. When she sought to have a new California birth certificate issued reflecting her female gender, she learned that out-of-state residents were required to obtain a court order from the state in which they resided.

She was not able to obtain a court-ordered gender change from her county of residence in Kansas.

After the San Francisco Superior Court denied her petition due to the residency requirement, Ms Somers took her case to the Court of Appeal, which ruled on Friday that any person can amend their California birth certificate regardless of their current state of residence.

TLC legal director Kristina Wertz, who represented Ms Somers, said: “No one who is born in California should be denied the opportunity to change their birth certificate simply because they are transgender and have moved out of state.

“Ms Somers can now rest assured that her birth record will always reflect who she truly is, a right that all people born in California enjoy. This is a landmark victory for transgender people all over the country.”

Ms Somers said: “I brought this petition because I did not feel that my transition would be complete until my birth certificate showed who I am. Everybody in my life accepts me for who I am, and I wanted to make sure my officials records did too.

“I am extremely happy about this victory and grateful for all the work that TLC has done on my behalf.”

Related topics: Americas

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