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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Court Rules Lawsuit Against Ohio for Prohibiting Gender Changes on Birth Certificates Can Proceed

Posted By on Thu, Sep 12, 2019 at 4:45 PM

  • Plaintiffs and their lawyers, courtesy ACLU of Ohio

The lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Ohio and others last year against the state of Ohio over its policy that doesn't allow someone to correct their gender on their birth certificate may proceed, a U.S. District Court ruled today. The state had sought to have the lawsuit dismissed. It is only one of two states that doesn't allow gender to be changed on the document.

“Today we took a huge leap forward toward the goal of ensuring that transgender people born in Ohio will have access to an accurate birth certificate that matches their identity, which is essential to their safety, privacy, and well-being. What we are arguing is simple: the identities and dignity of transgender Ohioans must be recognized by the state.” said Lambda Law Firm Legal Staff Attorney Kara Ingelhart in a release following the decision. “Ohio is out of step with the rest of the United States in clinging to this archaic and dangerous refusal to provide transgender Ohioans with accurate documentation which serves no other reason than discrimination.”

“I am looking forward to my day in court,” said Stacie Ray, one of the four named transgender plaintiffs, in the same release. “It is frustrating that it will take a lawsuit to have my state recognize me for who I really am. But I’m confident that, in the end, our fundamental right to live as our true and authentic selves will prevail and that no one else in Ohio will have to endure the horrific experiences I and my fellow plaintiffs have endured moving forward.”

The plaintiffs argue that without accurate gender reflection, affected Ohioans face discrimination and often encounter hurdles when seeking employment, among other issues.

“Noting that Ohio is an extreme outlier - one of only two states that does not permit trans individuals to correct their birth certificates – the Court found that Ohio’s continued refusal violates our clients’ right to live lives without fear of exposure to discrimination, harassment or violence," said Freda Levenson, the Legal Director at ACLU of Ohio. "This ruling paves the way to complete victory. Now we will continue to fight until we completely remove this barrier. In the end, transgender people will have access to the basic documents they need to live as their true and authentic selves.”

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