July 10, 2017 at 12:01 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Federal court urged to strike down Puerto Rico birth certificate policy

Puerto Rico Pulse nightclub victims, gay news, Washington Blade

A federal lawsuit urges Puerto Rico to allow transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificate. (Image by Nicolas Raymond; courtesy Flickr)

Lambda Legal has urged a federal court to strike down a Puerto Rico policy that does not allow transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificates.

The group made the request in a brief it filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico on June 26.

Lambda Legal in April filed a lawsuit against the policy on behalf of three trans Puerto Ricans and Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, a local advocacy group.

The lawsuit alleges the policy, which the Puerto Rico Supreme Court decreed in 2005, violates the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses. Lambda Legal also says the policy violates Puerto Ricans’ rights to free speech under the First Amendment.

“Puerto Rico’s birth certificate policy creates a barrier to full engagement in society by transgender persons and subjects them to invasions of privacy, prejudice, discrimination, humiliation, harassment, stigma and even violence,” reads the brief.

The brief also notes trans Puerto Ricans “face significant violence and stigma” in the U.S. commonwealth.

“The birth certificate policy forces disclosure of highly personal and sensitive information, such as a person’s transgender status and medical condition, to others whom one might not trust or wish to know such information,” it reads.

Puerto Rico allows trans people to change the gender marker on their driver’s license.

Then-Gov. Alejandro García Padilla in 2015 signed an executive order that mandated this change. Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and other representatives of the Puerto Rican government who are named as defendants in the Lambda Legal lawsuit filed a motion last month to dismiss it.

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

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