|Posted:||January 13, 2022 09:37 AM|
|From:||Senator Timothy P. Kearney and Sen. Amanda M. Cappelletti, Sen. Katie J. Muth, Sen. Lindsey M. Williams|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Removal of Sex from Birth Certificates|
|After learning more about the challenges facing transgender Pennsylvanians at a Senate Democratic Policy Hearing held last June, my colleagues and I are introducing a package of bills to reform the name change process and remove some of the legal barriers the LGBTQ community faces when living as their authentic selves.
Soon, we intend to introduce legislation to protect individual privacy and prevent discrimination by removing sex designations on PA birth certificates.
In the policy hearing, we heard extensive testimony from people with lived experiences around the name change process in Pennsylvania. Part of this testimony recognized the difficulties and discrimination individuals who do not conform or identify with the gender on their government issued IDs face. While the current administration has worked to address some of the difficulties of getting state issued IDs with gender neutral designations by simplifying the process on Driver’s Licenses, there are still tremendous hurdles when it comes to the overall process for individuals to change their name and change their sex, particularly on birth certificates. By removing sex designations entirely, we can remove the barriers of acquiring gender-affirming birth certificates.
As recently recommended by the American Medical Association, removing sex designations on birth certificates will prevent many problems transgender individuals face by having a different gender identity on this foundational document. This legislation would remove sex from PA birth certificates, but will still insure that an individual’s sex designation at birth continues to be reported through the separate U.S. Standard Certificate of Live Birth system. The AMA notes that “removal of sex designation from the birth certificate would have little to no impact on vital statistics data collected for medical, public health, and statistical purposes.”
This is not a new idea. Birth certificates used to include the race of individual’s parents which had historically been used as a part of systemic discrimination. Similarly, non-binary individuals face discrimination from not having gender-affirming documentation. While removing sex from birth certificates will not fix the discrimination these individuals face it can, at least, remove one obstacle they face.
Please join us in co-sponsoring this legislation.
Introduced as SB1145