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Tipsheet

Vermont Unveils Bill That Would Allow Amending Birth Certificates To Reflect ‘Gender Identity’

AP Photo/Robin Rayne

The Vermont House of Representatives approved a bill in a “voice vote” on Tuesday that would simplify the process for state residents to amend their birth certificate to reflect what gender they identify as. A final vote is expected this week before it would move onto the state Senate. 

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The bill, H. 628, “proposes to authorize the State Registrar to amend or issue a new birth certificate to reflect an individual’s gender identity” and proposes to authorize the Department of Health to “adopt rules that add new gender pronouns to the list of markers that be used on birth records.”

Currently, for state residents to change their gender marker on their birth certificate, they must mail several documents, including an application for a new Vermont birth certificate, to the state’s Department of Health. They must also mail in an affidavit of a physician in support of their new birth certificate.

“It is the intent of the General Assembly to promote equity by allowing all individuals, regardless of gender, to amend their vital records to accurately reflect and affirm their identities. There is a long history of discrimination and violence against the LGBTQIA+ community. This act serves to mitigate future harm through the creation of a simple and equitable system to provide for all gender marker changes on a Vermont birth certificate to be made through means such as self-attestation,” the bill states.

“The Department may adopt rules to add gender pronouns to the list of markers on a birth certificate in order to foster a gender literate environment and reflect an individual’s gender identity,” it continues.

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In June 2017, Oregon became the first state in the country to issue a birth certificate with the “x” gender marker. “X” is an alternative to selecting “male” or “female.” California, Colorado, New Jersey, and Washington now allow “non-binary” birth certificates as well. 

In October, the U.S. Department of State announced it had issued the first-ever U.S. passport with the “x” gender marker, meaning the person who owns the passport does not identify as male or female. In the Department’s announcement, it claims that including an “x” gender marker for non-binary, intersex, and “gender non-conforming persons” to “better serves all U.S. citizens.”

In November, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt halted the state from issuing birth certificates with a non-binary gender option.

Stitt said in a statement in October “I believe that people are created by God to be male or female. Period," and added “there is no such thing as non-binary sex.”

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