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Hawaii passes bill removing surgical requirement for gender recognition

Naith Payton May 6, 2015
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The Hawaii legislature has approved a bill that allows trans people to change their birth certificates without having surgery.

Trans people are currently required to have gender confirmation surgery in order to have their identity documents reflect their gender.

It means that those who do not want or cannot afford surgery are left at risk of discrimination, and without official recognition of who they are.

Advocate Rebecca Copeland, an attorney and parent of a trans child, told HPR2: “It’s the lack of recognition in society that really hurts people.

“When people look at it and it doesn’t reflect who they are it can really have devastating consequences.

“It’s not only hurtful and troublesome for them as they’re trying to navigate through life but it can also open them up to violence and, certainly, discrimination.

“[This bill] really does allow them to get what would really be basic necessities of life.”

The bill, which simply requires a letter from a medical professional, now passes to the Governor’s desk.

The move has been welcoming by trans advocates in the state, but Republican Senator Sam Slom said: “We’re going down a very sketchy path here and in effect doctoring the truth.

“You’re either born a man or a woman and that’s the way it is.”

Norway is currently in the process of pushing for similar changes.

Related topics: gender recognition, Hawaii, surgery, Transgender, US

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