A New Jersey Senate committee approved a bill allowing trans people to amend their birth certificates after receiving ‘clinically appropriate treatment’ — surgery will no longer be required.
The next step is a vote by the entire Senate — which is controlled by Democrats. If approved, it’ll go to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk. The state Assembly has already approved this revision. There is no word on whether or not the governor, a Republican, will sign the bill, however, he was elected in a state where the majority of voters are Democrats.
Update – Jan. 13, 2014. Gov. Christie vetoes bill:
In December, the New Jersey Senate passed passed A4097 and sent the bill to Christie for his signature. Today he has vetoed it, and it the legislature has little change of overriding the veto.
Unlike with their federal identification documents, as the Advocate reported, “individuals born in New Jersey must prove that they have had some form of gender-confirming surgery before they can update their birth record. These surgeries generally cost tens of thousands of dollars, and often are not covered by health insurance, leaving many transgender individuals either unable or unwilling to undergo this method of treatment. Many trans individuals opt to medically transition solely through hormone replacement therapy. As New Jersey law stands currently, those individuals are not able to update their birth certificate.”
“Governor Christies [sic] veto of this legislation was a vindictive move to punish the LGBT community after a year of tremendous progress,” Troy Stevenson, Executive Director of Garden State Equality said in a statement. “This was a simple bureaucratic change, which would have offered tremendous support to the transgender community, and have zero effect on anyone else. The governor’s security argument is disingenuous at best, as there is already a process for one to change their gender marker; this legislation would simply end an unnecessary surgical requirement. This malicious use of the veto pen is shameful and beneath the office of governor.”
A Camden, New Jersey trans man reached a settlement with his former employer, Camden Treatment Center, after he was immediately fired following his disclosure that he was transgender on his first full day on the job.
The employer, Camden Treatment Associates, LLC, initially denied that El’ Jai Devoureau was in their employ. They also denied the claims of discrimination.
Although the terms of the settlement are confidential, spokespeople from both parties stated they reached an amicable agreement. The Transgender Legal Defense and Eduction Fund, working on behalf of Devoureau, waived over a million dollar in legal fees as part of the settlement.
A lot of people will certainly be watching to see what Gov. Christie’s response to the NJ birth certificate bill will be. Thumbs up to the Transgender Legal Defense and Eduction Fund for stepping up.
NJ’s birth certificate bill: http://www.advocate.com/politics/transgender/2013/12/16/new-jersey-moves-transgender-birth-certificate-bill
THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT is associated with Wipe Out Transphobia: http://www.wipeouttransphobia.com/
Read Lexie Cannes in The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/courtney-odonnell/