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With Chris Christie Gone, New Jersey Advances Transgender Rights

Transgender Protections Become New Jersey Law

In a landmark move, the state will offer more protections for transgender and genderqueer residents.

Three bills that will protect the dignity of LGBTQ people were signed into law by Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (pictured) this Independence Day.

"Today is an important day for New Jersey as we continue to strive toward equality for all of our residents, regardless of sex or gender expression," he said.

Senate Bill 478 and Senate Bill 493 will allow the birth and death certificates of transgender and genderqueer people to reflect their gender identity, overturning previous laws that mandated people undergo gender-confirmation surgery and obtain proof from their doctors for the change. Former Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, had vetoed the proposed legislation twice while he was in power.

The certificates also offer options for those who do not fit within the gender binary, giving people the option to identify themselves as male, female, or undesignated.

"Allowing vital records to match gender identity is an important step forward that will allow transgender individuals to control the disclosure of their transgender status," explained Murphy. Christie had claimed the bills would create the potential for fraud.

The third measure, Senate Bill 705, established the Transgender Equality Task Force, an institution of 17 members that will create "recommendations to the Legislature and the Governor on how to ensure equality and improve the lives of transgender individuals, with particular attention to the following areas: healthcare, long term care, education, higher education, housing, employment and criminal justice."

"By creating a Transgender Equality Task Force, New Jersey can ensure that all residents receive the protections they deserve," Murphy said. "New Jersey will continue to stand with our LGBTQ residents in the continued pursuit of similar rights nationwide."

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