October 5, 2015 at 6:00 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Md. birth certificates law takes effect

trans, transgender flag, gay news, Washington Blade

A Maryland law that allows transgender and intersex people to change the gender on their birth certificates took effect on Oct. 1, 2015. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A Maryland law that makes it easier for transgender and intersex people to legally change the gender on their birth certificates without surgery took effect on Oct. 1.

Free State Legal Project, a Baltimore-based organization that offers legal services to LGBT Marylanders, in a press release said Ken Jiretsu, a trans man, was the first person to request a new birth certificate under the statute.

“It is such a relief to know that my birth certificate is finally changed and will accurately match all of my other documents,” said Jiretsu. “I will no longer have to explain why my driver’s license has a different gender marker than my birth certificate.”

The law allows trans and intersex Marylanders to receive a new — and not amended — birth certificate. It also allows those who wish to receive a new birth certificate to simply file paperwork with the Maryland Division of Vital Records, as opposed to obtaining a court order that declares their gender has changed.

Free State Legal Project said it expects Maryland judges will also rule the law applies to trans and intersex people in the state who were born somewhere else.

“Nearly every transgender or intersex person in Maryland can benefit from this new law, whether they were born in Maryland or somewhere else, and regardless of whether they have previously updated their birth certificate or if they have not begun the process of updating any identity documents,” said Patrick Paschell, the group’s executive director.

Dana Beyer, executive director of Gender Rights Maryland, a trans advocacy group, also welcomed the new law.

“I applaud Maryland for improving its documentation procedures for trans and intersex persons, and look forward to working with the legislature this year to make the law consonant with the gender identity law and evolving civil rights standards,” Beyer told the Blade.

State Sen. Susan Lee (D-Montgomery County) and state Del. David Moon (D-Montgomery County) earlier this year introduced the birth certificates bill in their respective chambers of the Maryland General Assembly.

The measure received final approval in April.

Gov. Larry Hogan allowed it to become law without his signature.

Neighboring D.C. is among the U.S. jurisdictions in which trans and intersex people can change the gender on their birth certificates without surgery. Ireland, Colombia, Argentina and Malta have implemented similar laws and regulations.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

  • Makes me proud to be a Marylander!

  • Karin

    Great! Now you need to start being an LGBTI publication and report on intersex people too.

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