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HomeNorth AmericaFrance no longer requires transgender sterilization, but the US still does

France no longer requires transgender sterilization, but the US still does

transgender sterilization

The overwhelming response to this news from our US readers about France’s previous requirement of transgender sterilization can be surmised with one word, incredulous.
Most consider France a bastion of equality and are astounded to learn that the country that gave us the statue of liberty would target trans people with state sponsored Eugenics.

Now, how surprised are you that the recipient of that fine statue still requires sterilization before fully and legally recognizing a person’s authentic gender?

transgender sterilization
A map from a 1929 Swedish royal commission report displays the U.S. states that had implemented sterilization legislation.

Now, how about this?  The United States  was the first country to “concertedly undertake compulsory sterilization programs for the purpose of Eugenics” and that this practice is still continuing in most states?

US Transgender people are the only minority left still facing state-sponsored eugenics, a practice now ruled unconstitutional for everyone else. State sponsored Transgender sterilization is meant for one purpose, to end the existence of our minority.

Hyperbole? Perhaps not, although there has been some progress on the federal level. Under the current administration, you can get a Passport with your authentic gender indicated without surgery. According to The National Center For Transgender Equality, you will need a physician’s letter stating that you have undergone clinical treatment determined by your doctor to be appropriate in your case to facilitate gender transition.

Most states require you to update your social security information and present that when filing for a drivers license update. Under the Obama administration, this is possible by first updating your social security information, which also does not require surgery.

“No match letters.” When I transitioned in 2006 the Social Security denied my request to change my gender. I was called into the office weekly by a former employer demanding an explanation at to why they kept receiving “no Match Letters” from Social Security. I was harrassed by that employer using this and other means to the point where eventually quit my $1200 a week job. Thus began two years of couch surfing unemployment followed by seven years of minimum wage jobs. So be aware there are risks involved when you transition although the NCTE says that things overall have gotten better in that regard. But please remember that this is a general guide and not legal advice.

In order to have a chance at living our lives with some degree of normality, it is necessary to have a drivers license which correctly identifies us. All of the states do this without requiring surgery except Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina and Oklahoma, which unbelievably require irreversible surgical altercation resulting in a life without hope of reproducing.

There is only one way to be sure you are respected in death and that’s by amending your Birth Certificate to indicate your correct gender. All too often we’ve seen transgender people buried under a headstone which intentionally disrespects them in death by an unaccepting family.

Now my turn to be surprised!

I was surprised when researching this article. I had long taken as gospel the prevalent hearsay about my birth state’s laws regarding amending or reissuing of birth Certificates. I thought it was impossible, but I found out I might have a chance at doing this!

So where does your state stand on this vital issue?

Michigan’s archaic laws still require a transgender person present a letter from the doctor who performed the surgery before amending an applicate’s birth certificate as does the following states and territories: AlabamaAmerican Samoa, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Connecticut (ambiguous law), Delaware, District Of Columbia, Georgia, Guam, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming all require sterilization of transgender people.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, US Virgin Islands, Utah, Washington, do not implicitly require surgical sterilization to update the gender on Birth Certificates.

Ohio statutes according to the NCTE,  do not provide guidance on updating the gender marker on a birth certificate, the Ohio Office of Vital Statistics can issue an amended birth certificate upon receipt of a court order of gender change. However, it is important to note that it may be difficult to get a court order of gender change from an Ohio court, due to an old Ohio court decision stating that courts do not have the authority to issue such orders. Advocates report successful birth certificate changes when the Ohio Office of Vital Statistics has been presented with a court order for gender change issued from courts in other states (for individuals living in other states now).

Mississippi’s laws appear ambiguous and open to interpretation at this time.

Missouri like some conservative states haven’t fully legislated discrimination as of yet. The NCTE notes that some individuals have been able to get a court order for gender change on a Missouri birth certificate without proof of surgery, as exhibited in this court order for gender change. Template forms for requesting a court order for gender change are available on the Transas City website.

Idaho and Puerto Rico do not change gender markers on Birth Certificates for any reason.

Des droits pour les trans en France (English subtitles) from ILGA-Europe on Vimeo.

Kelli Busey
Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender


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