ACRU

ACLU Favors Changing the Past, by Force

The ACLU is filing suit to force the Illinois Vital Records Division to “correct” birth certificates which were correct when issued. Two women, who were born as boys and had transgender surgery in Thailand, are the plaintiffs in the case to force the changes by court order.

The facts for this article, but not its legal conclusions, some from an article in the Chicago Sun-Times on 28 January, 2008, concerning an ACLU lawsuit to force the Illinois Vital Records Division to issue new and revised birth certificates to two “transgender women” in Illinois.

Karissa Roth and Victoria Kirk were both born in Illinois as boys, and their birth certificates both reflected those facts. Recently both men have had gender reassignment surgery in Thailand, and returned with their female names and identities.

In a press conference in Illinois, both women claimed that their “inability to correct their birth certificates have cost [them] money, time, aggravation, and worry.” Neither one stated in what way their birth certificates were inaccurate when created and filed in Illinois.

The Illinois Vital Records Division says that their “hands are tied.” The Illinois Vital Records Act allows birth certificates to be amended at the direction of “a licensed physician.” Under current law, that means any doctor licensed in Illinois, or any other state, can order a revision of a birth certificate. But doctors in Thailand are not, under that definition, licensed physicians,

Joel Ginsburg, Executive Director of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, estimates that “1,600 to 2,000 undergo major gender-related surgeries” per year. He added that most medical plans will not pay the costs of such surgery, many such patients go outside the country.

Note that this is not a claim that these are that many transgender operations. Nor does any of this go to the issue of whether the original birth certificates were inaccurate in any way.

Since both plaintiffs acknowledge that they have obtained correct drivers licenses and passports, which reflect their current gender, it is unclear why a change in their official birth certificates is necessary, unless they are trying to conceal their biological pasts.

Sources on the Net: http://www.suntimes.com/lifestyles/health/1400704,CST-NWS-transgend28.article