October 21, 2015 at 2:53 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Gender identity ‘death certificate’ bill introduced
Mary Cheh, gay news, Washington Blade

D.C. Council member Mary Cheh introduced a bill that calls for amending the city’s Vital Records Act of 1981 ‘to clarify the process for respecting a decedent’s gender identity.’ (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

D.C. Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) introduced a bill on Tuesday that calls for amending the city’s Vital Records Act of 1981 “to clarify the process for respecting a decedent’s gender identity on his or her death certificate.”

The Death Certificate Gender Identity Recognition Amendment Act of 2015, among other things, would require a funeral director or another person completing a death certificate to “record the decedent’s sex to reflect the decedent’s gender identity” as defined in the D.C. Human Rights Act, which bans discrimination based on gender identity and other factors.

“In case of conflicting information from sources, the death certificate shall be based on documentation that memorializes the decedent’s gender transition,” the bill states. “If documentation is not available, it shall be based on information from individuals most familiar with the decedent’s gender identity at the time of death,” it says.

The bill says documents that may memorialize a gender transition include written instructions from the decedent, a court order approving a name or gender change, an advanced health care directive, or documentation of “an appropriate course of treatment for the purpose of gender transition.”

Eight Council members signed on as co-sponsor of Cheh’s bill: Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), Elissa Silverman (D-At-Large), David Grosso (I-At-Large), Anita Bonds (D-At-Large), Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), Vincent Orange (D-At-Large), Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) and Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1).

Among those not signing on as co-sponsors were Council Chair Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large) and Council member Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5), who chairs the Council’s Judiciary Committee, to which the bill was assigned.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

5 Comments
  • .Kudos to Washington. This needs to be a nationwide policy

    • I made costly sacrifices to be a woman for the last 11 years: nightmare
      and titanic- like marriage; five jobs losses; period of homelessness.
      Anyone here should show support by their actions and sacrifices

  • TO GET ANYWHERE TODAY, this news should be printed in main street publications like NY times; Boston Globe; LA times; Chicago Tribune, I am not Gay, but Transwoman 100% legit, as of this minute. Undo my surgery? Try!!

  • If I did not change my name and body…I sure my two sisters would attempt to bury me as a male. I have belong to the TG community for 30 years and met hundreds of trans from the IFGE history. I was so offended when a TG out and socially active as a woman died; and her Midwest family buried her as a male.This happened around 1997. Her name was “Holly” and daily volunteered
    to answer phone at IFGE’s Waltham Headquarters. Holly proudly said that she
    attended the Boston Pops often in her size 20 dresses.
    Upon hearing this, I swore this travesty would not happen to me!!

  • I am who I am. And that is who I want to be remembered.

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