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(22,336 posts)
Fri Jun 8, 2018, 08:05 PM Jun 2018

How Birth Certificates Are Being Weaponized Against Trans People

Fascinating article- much more at link, including the racist history of birth certificates, and of course how they're now used as weapons against LGBT people just as they have been used against people of color.


As LGBT and transgender Americans have stepped out of the shadows, the birth certificate, and the rage for government-mandated identity, have surfaced again. The Supreme Court, in 2015, held that same-sex couples are entitled to marry “on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples”; in 2017, the Court, in an unsigned opinion, announced those terms must extend to equality in the birth-certificate realm. When a woman married to a man gave birth in Arkansas, the man was automatically listed as the father, without regard to the biological fact of paternity—including where the child was conceived by artificial insemination. When two women married and a child was born under the same circumstances, the spouse was not so listed. The state argued its law was about “biological parentage”—but it was not; husbands were listed as fathers even when the child was conceived by sperm donation. Birth certificates, the Court said, are “more than a mere marker of biological relationships”—they are “a form of legal recognition” and thus must treat all couples equally. (Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch dissented.)

The infamous “bathroom bills”—passed and partially repealed in North Carolina, and proposed in more than a dozen other states—were also birth-certificate based; they would make binding for life the assignment of sex performed at birth. In Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified School District, decided last year by the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Ash Whitaker, a transgender boy, was denied permission to use the boys’ bathroom despite two letters from his physician. At oral argument, the district argued instead that it would only accept “a birth certificate that designated his sex as male.” The appeals court, holding for Ash, noted the “arbitrary nature” of reliance on birth certificates.

Gavin Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board was decided last month by the Fourth Circuit; Grimm, a transgender boy, was blocked from use of the boys’ room after parent complaints. Even when a Virginia court granted him an amended birth certificate, the school board would not budge, saying that his “biological gender” was still female. “The board’s argument,” the appeals court wrote, “rings hollow.”

As of 2017, the Transgender Law Center lists four states—Idaho, Kansas, Ohio, and Tennessee—as barring transgender persons from changing their gender on a birth certificate. Since the list was compiled, federal judges in Puerto Rico and Idaho have struck down the no-gender-change policies. Lawsuits are pending in Kansas and Ohio. In some of the remaining states, the state’s vital-records division will make the change after receiving medical certification; in others, a transgender applicant must go to court. Sixteen of the states require transgender applicants to produce proof that they have undergone some form of gender-reassignment surgery.

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How Birth Certificates Are Being Weaponized Against Trans People (Original Post) gollygee Jun 2018 OP
kick gollygee Jun 2018 #1
K&R for an important issue. WhiskeyGrinder Jun 2018 #2
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