Earlier this year, the Illinois legislature amended and Governor Rauner signed into law an amendment to the “Illinois Vital Records Act” that makes it possible for many transgender and intersex people born in Illinois to correct the sex designation on their birth certificate. The law previously required a person undergo surgery before they could correct the sex listed on their birth certificate, but this amendment changed that. Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the new law.

Please note: This document offers general information only and is not intended to provide guidance or legal advice regarding anyone’s specific situation. If you have additional questions, or have encountered difficulty in obtaining an amended Illinois birth certificate contact the ACLU of Illinois at 312-201-9740 or www.aclu-il.org/about/requesting-legal-assistance/

HOW DO I CHANGE THE SEX DESIGNATION ON MY BIRTH CERTIFICATE?

The Illinois Department of Public Health (“IDPH”) oversees vital records in Illinois, including birth certificates for people born in Illinois even if they no longer live here. The IDPH website includes instructions and forms to assist you in correcting the sex listed on your Illinois birth certificate.

People who are transgender or intersex are now able to make this change by:

  1. Signing an Affidavit stating that they wish the sex listed on their current birth certificate to be changed. Please note that your signature on this affidavit must be notarized;
  2. Asking a licensed health care or mental health professional to sign a Declaration stating that you have undergone treatment that is clinically appropriate for you for the purpose of gender transition, based on contemporary medical standards, or that you have an intersex condition; and
  3. Paying a $15 fee to IDPH, which entitles you to one certified copy of the new birth certificate.

WHAT KIND OF MEDICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL CAN SIGN THIS DECLARATION?

There are several different licensed professionals who can sign this declaration:  a physician, advanced practice nurse, a physician assistant, or anyone licensed or registered to provide mental health services by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (“IDFPR”) or another board of registration that registers or grants licenses to mental health professionals in Illinois or another state.

DOES THE MEDICAL OR MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL’S SIGNATURE HAVE TO BE NOTARIZED?

No. The form simply needs to be signed and does not have to be notarized. When the provider signs the IDPH Declaration form, that provider is declaring, under penalty of perjury, that all of the information in the form is true and correct.

WHEN CAN I CHANGE THE SEX LISTED ON MY BIRTH CERTIFICATE?

You can correct the sex listed on your birth certificate under the new law starting on January 1, 2018.

WHAT IF I ALSO WANT TO CHANGE THE NAME ON MY BIRTH CERTIFICATE?

You can do that by obtaining a court order changing your name (if you don’t already have one), sending a certified copy of that court order to IDPH, and requesting a name change in your Affidavit requesting that the sex listed on your birth certificate be changed.

WHAT IF I NO LONGER LIVE IN ILLINOIS?

If you were born in Illinois, you can still follow this procedure to correct the sex and name listed on your Illinois birth certificate.

WHAT HAPPENS TO MY OLD BIRTH CERTIFICATE?

Your old birth certificate is kept by the IDPH under seal and cannot be released unless you request it or a court orders it. 

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