Transgender Bathroom Access Measure Advances

Apr 5, 2016

Credit Jack Stewart / Flickr via Creative Commons

Illinois lawmakers have given initial approval to a measure that would allow transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificates, passports, and identification cards. Currently, people must first undergo surgery before changing their gender on documents. Legislation that advanced out of a House committee Tuesday removes that requirement. Maya Zimmerman says she would like to have sex change surgery, but she can't afford it.

"My financial circumstances, however, should not be a road block to being fully recognized as a woman.  I've been able to update my state ID so that it's accurate, but the fact that my birth certificate - that fundamental document - does not match my ID can cause confusion, and even worse in those situations when one is asked to provide both form of identification."

The proposal now goes to the full chamber for consideration. The American Civil Liberties Union in Illinois says such changes without surgery are already allowed in a dozen states and under federal law. The same House committee deferred taking action on legislation to regulate which school bathrooms transgender students use. That likely means the measure is dead for the year.