Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New Gender, New Birth Certificate

The New Jersey legislature has passed a bill that will allow transgender people who have had hormone therapy to get a new birth certificate that shows the sex they want to be, instead of the sex they were born with. The previous law already allowed people who had sex-change surgery to have their birth certificates changed. However, sex-change surgery is very expensive, so some transgender people instead take hormones to alter their bodies. The new bill would give these people new birth certificates, too.

It’s really nonsense for either group to receive a new birth certificate. Birth certificates can be used as a form of identification; they are not meant to be an up-to-the-minute ID. It’s a historical document stating where you were born and who your parents were. We don’t alter a woman’s birth certificate to reflect her new surname when she marries, because the name change happened years later. We handle this through a new ID, and we could do the same for people who claim a new gender.

It’s been suggested that a birth certificate that disagrees with a more recent ID could “out” a transgender person who wants to keep his sex change a secret. But we shouldn’t have to falsify historical, legal records to help people keep secrets. The Democratic Senator who sponsored this bill said that transgender people’s birth certificates should reflect who they are “mentally” and “spiritually.” But how you feel about yourself really has nothing to do with the accuracy of your birth certificate. He also said that it was “their certificate and their choice,” but I don’t think we should have a choice about whether our legal records are accurate.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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