The ACLU of Ohio filed a federal lawsuit against the state today over Ohio's policy that doesn't allow people to correct their gender on their birth certificates. It's just one of three states (Tennessee and Kansas being the others) that doesn't allow someone to change their gender on the official state paperwork.
“Ohio’s policy deprives transgender people who were born in Ohio of a birth certificate that accurately reflects their gender identity,” said Susan Becker, General Counsel for the ACLU of Ohio, in a release. “It’s past time Ohio complies with the Constitution’s promise that all people have a right to live freely and openly in society as who they are, without fear of discrimination.”
“This policy is not only archaic and out-of-step with the rest of America but also dangerous. Forcing transgender Ohioans to go through life with inaccurate birth certificates, a basic form of identification, unnecessarily exposes them to discrimination, harassment, and violence. It also denies them their very identity,” Lambda Legal Law Fellow Kara Ingelhart added. “In fact, government officials in Ohio know this, given that they allow transgender people to change the gender on their drivers’ licenses and state identification cards.”
The four Ohio plaintiffs say they've faced employment and other issues because their birth certificate doesn't match their gender.
“After I had to show my birth certificate to obtain a job, a colleague threatened to beat me up and I felt I needed to leave for my own safety,” said plaintiff Stacie Ray. “I deserve to have documents that reflect who I am and don’t put me in harm’s way – the same as anyone would want for themselves and their loved ones.”
"We have attempted for years to do this administratively and they refuse to do it," Melissa Alexander, chairwoman of TransOhio, told Cleveland.com
. "We've met with them. We've had phone conferences with them. We've provided them information and sample policies and they still will not do this."