House Bill 1785, sponsored by Representative Greg Harris, this morning cleared the House Human Services Committee by a vote of 7 to 4. The bill would update and modernize a more than half-century old rule by eliminating an antiquated surgical requirement that prevents countless transgender and intersex Illinoisans from changing the gender marker on their birth certificate to match their gender and the gender marker on their other state and federal identification documents. The bill now goes to the full House for a vote.

The following can be attributed to John Knight, Director of the ACLU of Illinois’ LGBT and HIV Project:

The Committee today took an important step to protect people in Illinois who are transgender or intersex. No one should face the dilemma of being denied a birth certificate that conforms with their gender simply because they are unable – or cannot afford – to undergo surgery that the medical community agrees is not necessary for everyone who transitions.Illinois should join the federal government, thirteen other states, and the District of Columbia in allowing people to change the gender marker on their birth certificate without surgery. People who are transgender and intersex should make their own medical decisions with the guidance of medical health professionals—not politicians. We thank Representative Greg Harris for his leadership, and we hope the House acts quickly to pass this bill and send it to the Senate.