Sunday, May 28, 2023

Montana bans birth certificate changes even after gender-affirming surgery

Billings, Mont. ( Associated Press) — Montana health officials say transgender people can’t change their birth certificates even if they undergo gender-affirming surgery, in defiance of a court order that called for Republicans to restrict transgender rights. The bid of the controlled state was blocked.

Read more: Texas Supreme Court will allow state to investigate trans youth parents

The state health department said in an emergency order late Monday that it would no longer record the category of “gender” on people’s birth certificates, replacing that category with a list for “sex” that is only considered rare. Circumstances can only be changed.

By order, sex is “immutable”, while gender is a “social … construct” that can change over time.

“Sex is distinct from gender and an irreversible genetic fact, which cannot be changed even by surgery,” said Adam Meier, director of Public Health and Human Services, in the order.

According to civil rights group Lambda Legal, only Tennessee, Oklahoma and West Virginia have similar broad restrictions against birth certificate changes. According to the group, restrictions were lifted in Idaho and Ohio in 2020.

The order came a month after a state judge temporarily blocked enforcement of a law that required transgender people to undergo a “surgical procedure” before being allowed to change their gender on their birth certificates. .

Judge Michael Moses ruled that the law was unconstitutionally vague because it did not specify which procedure should be performed. The law also requires transgender people to obtain a court order indicating they had a surgical procedure.

Moses’ order forced the state to revert to a process adopted in 2017 that mandated that transgender residents can apply for a gender change on their Montana birth certificate by filing an affidavit with the Department of Health.

Read more: Why is the GOP increasing attacks on trans rights? Experts say goal is to make sure evangelists vote

But state health officials said the April 21 decision had put them in “a vague and precarious position” and prompted them to prepare a temporary emergency order.

The new order exceeds restrictions on transgender rights imposed by the Republican-dominated state legislature and signed into law by Gov.

Shawn Rigor of the Montana Human Rights Network said the order was “politically motivated and malicious” and would harm transgender people who want to participate fully in civil society, including in recognition of their gender.

“It’s being validated and seen for who you are. But more than that, it’s being able to navigate society and be active in today’s world without the threat of violence or discrimination,” Rigor said. said.

Democratic state lawmakers expressed outrage, calling the order a “gross abuse of power to undermine the checks and balances of our independent courts.”

House Minority Leader Kim Abbott and Senate Minority Leader Jill Koehner said, “While this rule is intended to make the lives of our transgender neighbors difficult, it affects all of us by eliminating the rights that allow us to live our lives from government encroachment.” Let it be free.”

According to the order, the gender list can be changed only if one’s gender has been wrongly identified at the time of one’s birth or the gender has been entered incorrectly as a result of “author’s error” as per the order.

In response to questions about the new rule, the Department of Public Health and Human Services said, “All individuals should be treated with dignity and respect.”

“However,” the statement continued, “as noted in the Emergency Rule, the Department has an obligation to ensure the accuracy of vital records.” The agency said its order is in line with state law and addresses “a significant regulatory gap” following the April court’s ruling.

Read more: Utah’s Republican governor becomes latest to ban transgender sports

According to the Movement Advancement Project, a policy organization that supports transgender rights, half of US states, as well as the District of Columbia, allow transgender residents to change the gender designation on their birth certificates without surgical requirements or court orders.

Just over a dozen states require surgical intervention to change the gender on a birth certificate, and such constraints have been challenged in several states, including Montana, by the ACLU of Montana.

Many transgender people choose not to undergo gender-affirming surgery. Such procedures are sometimes deemed unnecessary or too costly, two transgender Montana residents argued in a July 2021 lawsuit challenging the Montana law.

ACLU representatives did not immediately respond to the order from the Montana Department of Health.

Over the past several years, legislation in many states has aimed to limit the rights of transgender people, and the new laws are being challenged in court.

Alabama passed a law requiring doctors to prescribe treatments such as gender-affirming puberty inhibitors and hormones for transgender minors, but a judge blocked the law.

In Texas, Republican Governor Greg Abbott ordered child welfare officials to investigate parents of children receiving puberty blockers and other gender-affirming care as possible abuse. That attempt was blocked by a judge.

At least a dozen states have recently passed laws banning transgender girls and women from participating in women’s sports in Utah.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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