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Ohio to allow transgender people to change birth certificate gender

Tennessee will soon be the only state that does not permit transgender people to make such changes.

Ohio will soon join nearly every other state in the country in allowing transgender people born in the state to change the gender markers on their birth certificates. Tennessee will soon be the lone holdout.

The Ohio Department of Health will not appeal a federal court ruling issued in December that found the state’s ban on birth certificate gender changes is unconstitutional. The department is instead working on a process for people to request the change and expects to have it in place by June 1, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Monday, citing a court filing made Thursday.

The December ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio came in response to a lawsuit brought by four transgender people born in Ohio. The plaintiffs, according to court documents, were subjected to professional humiliation, verbal harassment and threats to their safety as a result of not having a birth certificate that aligned with their gender identity.

The ruling cited a 2015 survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality that found 36 percent of respondents in Ohio who showed an ID with a name or gender that did not match their gender presentation were “verbally harassed, denied benefits or service, asked to leave, or assaulted.”

Judge Michael Watson called the state’s argument that permitting changes to birth certificate gender markers would “undermine the accuracy of vital statistics or fraud prevention” a “red herring.”

“The Court finds that Defendants' proffered justifications are nothing more than thinly veiled post-hoc rationales to deflect from the discriminatory impact of the Policy,” Watson wrote.

While nearly every state now permits transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificate, the process for doing so varies from state to state. Fourteen states, for example, require proof of gender-affirming surgery in order to make such a change, according to Movement Advancement Project, an LGBTQ think tank.

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