Lambda Legal and ACLU of Ohio Issue Materials to Educate Public on Ohio Department of Health’s New Procedures for Trans Ohioans to Correct Birth Certificates Following Court Order

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“For many transgender people, having personal identity documents, such as birth certificates, that are aligned with their gender identities is crucial to navigating life safely."
May 26, 2021

To comply with a December 2020 court order in Ray v. McCloud, a case brought by Lambda Legal, the ACLU of Ohio, ACLU and Thompson Hine LLP, the Ohio Department of Health established new procedures that allow transgender people to correct the gender or “sex” marker on Ohio birth certificates.

“For many transgender people, having personal identity documents, such as birth certificates, that are aligned with their gender identities is crucial to navigating life safely,” said Kara Ingelhart, staff attorney at Lambda Legal. “For transgender people born in Ohio, there is finally a way to have birth documents that affirm who they are and that will give them access to the critical benefits and services to which they are legally entitled.”

Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Ohio published an FAQ document and added resources to its website outlining the Health Department’s process by which transgender individuals can correct the gender marker on their birth certificate so that it truly reflects who they are.

“Along with our partners nationally and across the state, the ACLU of Ohio is committed to ensuring that people who need corrected birth certificates are able to obtain them in the most efficient, fairest way possible,” added Elizabeth Bonham, staff attorney for the ACLU of Ohio.

“TransOhio celebrates this small but important legal victory. There is finally a written procedure for transgender people born in Ohio to update their birth certificates to reflect their lived and true gender, and we are excited to help our community members take advantage of this change. We'd like to thank the ACLU, the ACLU of Ohio, Lambda Legal, the Plaintiffs, ODH, and everyone else who helped work behind the scenes to set this historic precedent. Everyone should be entitled to current and accurate identity documents,” added James Knapp, Chair of TransOhio.

“Equality Ohio proudly celebrates this victory for Ohioans to finally access accurate birth records, and we applaud the tireless work of the plaintiffs, ACLU of Ohio and our national partners to secure these protections,” said Maya Simek, Esq., Legal Director for Equality Ohio. “Our Legal Clinic will begin helping LGBTQ+ Ohioans correct their birth certificate gender markers starting June 1st — fill out an intake form on our website, or call us at 855-LGBT-LAW.”

At the time of filing, Ohio was one of just three states, along with Tennessee and Kansas, that did not allow these corrections to be made. In June 2019, Kansas reached a consent agreement requiring it to issue corrected birth certificates, leaving Ohio and Tennessee as the only two states with this harmful anti-transgender policy on the books. In Ohio in 2020, a federal judge wrote, “All the Court is finding is that a blanket prohibition against transgender people changing their sex marker is unconstitutional.”

According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, almost one-third of transgender individuals who showed an identity document with a name or gender marker that conflicted with their perceived gender were harassed, denied benefits or services, discriminated against, or assaulted. Transgender individuals also are disproportionately targeted for hate crimes.

Trans Ohio, Equality Ohio, Equitas Health, Octopus, and Living with Change will offer forthcoming legal clinics to advise individuals who wish to correct the gender marker on their Ohio birth certificates.


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