Illinois State officials, following action by a state legislative committee, have stated in recent court filings that transgender individuals born in Illinois now are eligible for birth certificates reflecting their correct gender without being forced to undergo specific forms of surgery that they may not want or need.  The Illinois Department of Public Health Division of Vital Records through the Illinois Attorney General’s office has stated in papers filed in a suit brought by the ACLU of Illinois that genital surgery no longer will be required to receive a new, accurate birth certificate.  Many individuals who undergo gender transition opt not to undergo genital surgery for a variety of reasons, including cost and for some, a lack of medical need.  The new rule is the latest development in advocacy that the ACLU of Illinois has undertaken to ensure that transgender individuals can escape potential embarrassment, harassment or harm from having to show an inaccurate birth certificate. In July 2011, Circuit Court Judge Michael Hyman ordered the IDPH to issue new birth certificates to the three ACLU of Illinois clients who brought the suit.

The following can be attributed to John Knight, LGBT Project Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois:

We are pleased that the Attorney General and the Department of Public Health have made assurances that transgender individuals born in Illinois will now be able to get birth certificates that accurately reflect who they are without being required to undergo costly surgery that they may not want or need. It confirms our long-held belief that the State never should have involved itself in these private decisions about medical care. We hope that everyone who sought a new birth certificate listing their correct gender from the Department of Public Health in the past – and been denied – will act quickly to apply for a new birth certificate. No one should be refused accurate identity documents because of their personal choices about medical care.

At the same time, based on the state’s repeated flip-flopping on what it requires to correct the gender on birth certificates we will continue to pursue a written agreement or court order – enforceable by law – to ensure that the interpretation of the new rule is not reversed in the  future. We will continue to seek such an agreement in court in the coming weeks.