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Ill. to Issue New Birth Certificates to Litigants

Ill. to Issue New Birth Certificates to Litigants

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Three trangender Illinois residents will soon receive new birth certificates reflecting their correct gender, after an order issued last week by a Cook County Circuit Court judge in an ongoing lawsuit over gender markers.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois filed suit in May challenging the state's refusal to correct the gender on birth certificates for people who have had gender-reassignment (or, at the ACLU puts it, gender-confirmation) surgery, but not the specific forms of genital surgery demanded by state agencies.

Rather than file a response to the lawsuit, state officials argued that under a new rule to be considered by a legislative committee this fall, no one would be required to have genital surgery. The state sought a stay in the case until then, and Judge Michael Heyman ordered last week that the three ACLU clients identified in the suit -- Lauren Grey (pictured), Victor Williams, and Nicholas Guarino -- be issued new birth certificates as a sign of the state's good faith, and state officials agreed to the order. All have been waiting years for new identity documents, according to the ACLU.

"We are pleased for our clients," said John Knight, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Project at the ACLU of Illinois, in a press release. "Their new birth certificates will reflect who they are today, and avoid any potential embarrassment, harassment or possible harm."

"At the same time," he added, "there has been no change in the rule as yet -- and even the proposed rule includes no clear assurance that the state will not continue to require transgender individuals to undergo unnecessary surgeries. The court's ruling granting birth certificates applies only to our three clients," added Knight. "We continue to believe that there must be a written agreement or court order -- enforceable by law -- preventing the state from continuing to require genital surgery before transgender individuals can obtain an accurate birth certificate. The state has given our clients assurance before that they would address this unconstitutional practice, only to return to it after some time passes. It is essential that we have an enforceable agreement to prevent that from happening again."

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.