Illinois House Passes Bill to Modernize State’s Birth Certificate Law
Advocates urge Senate to support bill to help transgender Illinoisans
SPRINGFIELD (May 25, 2017) – A measure to modernize Illinois law allowing people to change the gender marker on their birth certificate, House Bill 1785, passed the House by a vote of 63 to 43 on Thursday and was sent to the Senate. If the bill is signed into law, Illinois would join fourteen other states and the District of Columbia in allowing people who are transgender and intersex to change the gender marker on their birth certificate.
State Rep. Greg Harris, chief House sponsor of HB1785:
“Today we took a big step to modernize our state’s half-century-old law on how transgender people correct their birth certificates. I want to thank those who voted yes to conform our laws with federal and other state requirements. This is so important for people who now more than ever need to be sure that their identifying documents are in order.”
John Knight, Director of the ACLU of Illinois’ LGBT and HIV Project:
“House Bill 1785 protects Illinoisans facing the unnecessary choice between living without a birth certificate that reflects who they are and undergoing surgery that they may not want or need. The legislation updates Illinois law to fit current medical standards and reduces the serious risks of discrimination and harm faced by many transgender people born in Illinois whose birth certificate fails to conform to their identity and appearance.
The House today took an important step to protect people in Illinois who are transgender or intersex. We thank Representative Greg Harris for his leadership in the House, and we hope the Senate acts quickly to pass this bill and send it to the Governor.”
Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois:
“With today’s bipartisan vote, the Illinois House took a significant step towards building a better Illinois for transgender and intersex Illinoisans.
We know this legislation will make the lives of transgender and intersex people better. Throughout the legislative process, we listened to stories from transgender individuals and allies about why the bill is important. We heard from a transgender high school senior who said the costs of the unnecessary surgical procedures required by the current law means he’d have to sacrifice a year of college. We heard from the mother of a trans child who lamented that the state will deny her child’s authentic self if the existing medically outdated law is not modernized. And we read a letter from a trans woman born in Illinois who now lives in Arizona about how she has no agenda other than to live authentically and without burden.
As the bill now moves to the Illinois Senate, we thank Rep. Harris for his steadfast leadership and call on state senators to quickly pass the bill.”