The Washington Post

D.C. bill would ease sex-change legalities

It may soon become easier for transgender District residents to legally become a man or a woman.

Under a bill introduced Tuesday by council member David A. Catania (I-At Large), a resident will be able to legally change their sex on their birth certificate with a signed affidavit from a doctor indicating that that person now wants to be identified as a man or a woman.

Currently, District law requires a court order before a man can legally become a woman or vice-versa.

Catania said the current process is too cumbersome and outdated because some transgender individuals can change their sex without surgery.

Catania said the proposed change would bring the District in line with 19 other states and New York City.

If approved, the Vital Records Division would also be required to issue a new birth certificate with the applicant’s new sex instead of marking an existing certificate as “amended.”

Catania said the provision will help remove the stigma associated with sex changes.

Catania’s bill has six co-sponsors, meaning its passage is virtually assured when it comes up for a vote on the 13-member council later this year.

Last year, the District’s Office of Human Rights launched a first-of-its kind advertising campaign highlighting transgender residents on billboards and bus shelters.

The campaign is designed to make the District more inviting to transgender residents while reducing the hate crimes they have been subjected to.

Tim Craig is The Post’s bureau chief in Pakistan. He has also covered conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and within the District of Columbia government.
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