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Bill to make it easier to change gender on Colorado birth certificates passes committee

Posted at 8:13 PM, Feb 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-06 22:34:39-05

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DENVER -- A Colorado House bill that makes it easier for transgender individuals to change their birth certificates to reflect their gender designation passed committee Wednesday and will move to the house floor.

House Bill 19-1039, sponsored by Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, and Sen. Dominick Moreno, D-Adams County, was up for consideration Wednesday in the House Health & Insurance Committee.

New bill provides new options for transgender persons

Currently, transgender persons in Colorado who have successfully gone through the court system have only one option: an amended birth certificate. This bill would require the state to issue a new birth certificate rather than just an amended one. Additionally, HB19-1039 would give persons who identify as transgender a more accessible path to changing those documents.

A court order for a legal name change to obtain a new birth certificate with a change in gender designation would no longer be required under the proposed bill. A statement from a professional medical or mental health provider would suffice.

Proponents say bill is a step forward for LGBT+ equality

Proponents of the bill call the measure an important move to legitimize people people who feel their gender identity does not match their assigned gender at birth. They also argue the measure will help end discrimination of transgender and non-binary individuals.

“We know that for many folks, when they don't have matching identity documents, they face the risk of discrimination or harassment,” said Daniel Ramos, executive director of One Colorado. “This policy is another way to make sure transgender people and non-binary people have an identity document.”

"When you walk into a doctor's office and you get called by the wrong gender and the wrong name, Iit's not only embarrassing, it's also really insulting," said Jude, a 12-year-old transgender Coloradan who testified for the bill. "Your brain does not match your body so right now I have a girl brain, but a boy body."

Opponents struggle to understand benefits bill brings to the transgender community

But opponents of the measure testified against the bill at Wednesday's committee hearing.

Rep. Mark Baisley, R-Teller County, told the committee he struggles with the idea of changing historical face, even if a person's gender status may have changed later in life.

Two people in total testified against the bill.

"This will make things even worse because you cannot change a person's sex," said another gentleman against the bill.

Republican lawmakers in both the House and Senate declined to speak with Denver7 about the bill.

Senate Republicans have killed similar legislation for three years at the State Capitol, but with Democrats in control of both the state House and Senate, many believe this year is the year the bill will pass.

The Archdiocese of Denver also said it opposes the bill but is focusing its lobbying efforts on other legislation it supports and opposes.