World News

Lawsuit seeks to allow gender changes on OH birth certificates

Lawsuit seeks to allow gender changes on OH birth certificates

According to the ACLU's complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court in Columbus, people born in OH can change the gender listed on their driver's license, passport, and social security information, but not their birth certificate.

Four transgender people who say OH won't allow them to change the gender listings of their birth certificates to properly reflect their identities sued the state on Thursday.

Stacie Ray, one of the plaintiffs in the case, said she was threatened with physical violence by a coworker who learned she was a transgender woman after a human resources official loudly questioned Ray about why her birth certificate listed her as male.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday, the individuals say the state won't allow them to change the gender listing on their birth certificates to properly reflect their identities.

By refusing to allow transgender people to change their birth certificates, the state of OH is "forcing transgender people to "out" themselves every time they need to present the document, which exposes them to a range of unfair and discriminatory treatment, from denial of employment, to verbal harassment, to physical violence,"Gabriel Arkles, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU's LGBT and HIV Project, said in a statement".

Susan Becker, general counsel for the ACLU of OH, said a recent federal court decision in Idaho ruled that that state's refusal to allow gender-marker changes on birth certificates was a form of gender-based discrimination.

More news: Geron Corporation (GERN) Buy, Hold or Sell? What Analysts Recommend

"Ohio's refusal to correct my birth certificate causes me problems not only in the US, but across the globe", plaintiff Basil Argento said in a statement.

"Ohio's categorical bar stands in sharp contrast to the approach of almost all other states and the District of Columbia, which have established processes by which transgender people can correct the gender marker on their birth certificate", according to the lawsuit.

Ray insisted "I am a woman" and called the lack of an accurate birth certificate "humiliating".

Another plaintiff, Basil Argento said the discrepancy between his OH birth certificate, which listed him as female, and passport caused significant delays and fees when he was trying to obtain dual Italian citizenship. Lacking a birth certificate that matches her gender identity also caused delays in her obtaining a hazardous-materials endorsement needed for her promotion as a truck driver. It's just one of three states (Tennessee and Kansas being the others) that doesn't allow someone to change their gender on the official state paperwork.

In addition to Ray, the Ohioans suing for a change in state policy are Basil Argento of Columbus, Angela Breda of Youngstown, and an unidentified doctor from Dayton.

"Beyond the indignity of having a birth certificate that does not reflect my reality and the hassles and marginal harm it has caused me in various situations over the years, the Department of Health's discriminatory policy has also affected me financially", Argento said. He said the incorrect gender listed on his OH birth certificate has turned a routine process into one that has required multiple trips to the Italian consulate in Detroit and about $7,500 in legal fees.