Virginia bill allowing new birth certificate for transgender people heads to governor’s desk

Richmond
Richmond (WSLS)

RICHMOND, Va. – The state legislature recently passed a bill that will allow transgender individuals to receive a new birth certificate, something advocates said will help transgender people acquire documentation in alignment with their identity.

Senate Bill 657, sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax, will allow a person to receive a new birth certificate to reflect the change of sex without the requirement of surgery. The individual seeking a new birth certificate also may list a new name if they provide a certified copy of a court order of the name change.

The bill requires proof from a health care provider that the individual went through "clinically appropriate treatment for gender transition." The assessment and treatment, according to Boysko's office, is up to the medical provider. There is not a standard approach for an individual's transition. Treatment could include counseling, hormone therapy, sex reassignment surgery or a patient-specific approach from the medical provider.

A similar process is required to obtain a passport after change of sex, according to the State Department. Once the paperwork is complete, it is submitted to the Virginia Department of Health's vital records department.

“Having your documentation accurately reflect your identity and match your other documentation is huge for transgender people,” Ted Lewis, executive director of Side by Side, said in email.

Side by Side is an advocacy group whose primary work involves creating supportive communities for LGBTQ youth. Lewis believes that this bill removes the "unnecessary and costly requirement of surgery," and it would allow transgender people "to have documentation of who they are."

Boysko said her constituents have reported issues when they need to show legal documents when leasing apartments, opening a bank account or applying for jobs.

"This bill removes an unnecessary hurdle for transgender people," Lewis said.