US: California gender recognition law comes into effect

Nick Duffy July 5, 2014
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A new California law which makes it easier for trans people to change their legal name and gender has come into effect.

The law, which was signed by Governor Jerry Brown last October, and came into effect this week.

Under the old law, California-born trans people had to obtain a court order in order to update their birth certificate, whereas the new regulations allow them to do so with a form to the Department of Public Health, after a doctor agrees they have taken “appropriate steps” to change their gender identity.

From this week, trans people will also no longer be required to post a notice of intent in a local newspaper before legally changing their gender, which campaigners had claimed invaded the person’s privacy, and was often costly.

Rick Zbur of Equality California said: “[The bill] is an important step toward protecting the privacy of transgender people and removing unnecessary governmental burdens.

“We were proud to co-sponsor this legislation with the Transgender Law Center and applaud Speaker Toni Atkins for her leadership.”

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, who submitted the bill, said: “This bill created a new administrative option for transgender people seeking to amend the gender and/or name on a California birth certificate, eliminating the unnecessary interim step of getting a court order before the State Registrar can change a birth certificate.

“This part of the new law will also remove the expensive and burdensome newspaper publication requirement for transgender people seeking legal name changes and would provide that a name change that is uncontested must be granted without a hearing.”

Ilona Turner of the Transgender Law Center said: “Today marks another step toward full equality for transgender Californians.

“These simple administrative changes are going to make a huge difference for transgender people who continue to face unfair and burdensome barriers to being able to live authentically and free from discrimination.”

A follow-up bill, which would allow the death certificates of transgender people to respect their legal gender, was submitted by Atkins last month.

Related topics: bill, birth, California, certificate, Employment, gender, Legal, recognition, Toni Atkins, Trans, Transgender, transgender law center, US

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