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Change Of Gender Birth Certs. Lauded In CA


San Francisco - The Transgender Law Center has announced that as of January 1, 2011, out-of-state residents may directly petition a California Superior Court for a Change of Gender and Issuance of New Birth certificate by checking a box on a Judicial Council Form. Previously, an out-of-state resident would have to use a form designed for in-state residents, which caused confusion and may have resulted in some qualified out-of state-petitioners being denied the ability to file for a gender change.
 
 
GENERAL, BLACK NEWS, AFRICAN AMERICAN NEWS , LATINO NEWS, HISPANIC NEWS,  MINORITY NEWS, CIVIL RIGHTS, DISCRIMINATION, RACISM, DIVERSITY, RACIAL EQUALITY, BIAS, EQUALITY

This welcome change to the Judicial Council Form NC-300 series resulted from the landmark decision, Somers v. Superior Court (2009) 172 Cal. App. 4th 1407. In that case, Kansas resident GiGi Marie Somers was denied a gender change order by a Kansas Court because she had been born in Los Angeles. At the time, California restricted gender change orders to California state residents. As a result, Ms. Somers was in legal limbo: unable to change her gender in Kansas because it required a person to have been born there, and unable to change her gender in California because it required a person to currently live there. The Transgender Law Center represented Ms. Somers in her action and in April 2009, the First District of the California Court of Appeal held that there is no compelling state interest in treating a California-born transgender individual who resides out of state differently from an individual who resides in California, as well as no rational basis for any disparate treatment.

 

Despite this positive ruling, as a practical matter it remained difficult for many non-resident transgender individuals to petition a California court. The Transgender Law Center heard from people who were erroneously told that it was not possible for non-residents to file for a gender change in California.  

 

"Just a week ago someone came into the Transgender Law Center office and told us that the clerk at San Francisco Superior Court informed him that he could not file a gender change petition because he was not a resident of San Francisco County.  This is extremely frustrating - especially considering the Somers case was originally filed in San Francisco," said Matt Wood, Staff Attorney at the Transgender Law Center.

 

As a result of this implementation problem, the Transgender Law Center developed a brief explaining the Somers decision for use by non-residents submitting gender change petitions to the Court, and advocated with the Judicial Council to include a box on the Gender Change Petition indicating that a person was a non-resident. The new form debuted last week. The Transgender Law Center believes that it is the first and only such form in the U.S.

 

"I am so glad I was able to work with the Transgender Law Center to change the law for other people in my situation. I hope that other states will follow California's example so that even more people will benefit," said Gigi Somers, the plaintiff in Somers v. Superior Court.

 

"We applaud the State for eliminating an unnecessary legal barrier for people born in California but living out-of-state. Having our legal gender reflect our authentic selves is a basic matter of dignity and self respect for transgender people," said Masen Davis, Executive Director of the Transgender Law Center.  

 
About the Transgender Law Center
The Transgender Law Center is a civil rights organization advocating for transgender communities. The Transgender Law Center uses direct legal services, education, community organizing and advocacy to transform California into a state that recognizes and supports the needs of transgender people and their families.

 


STORY TAGS: GENERAL, BLACK NEWS, AFRICAN AMERICAN NEWS, LATINO NEWS, HISPANIC NEWS, MINORITY NEWS, CIVIL RIGHTS, DISCRIMINATION, RACISM, DIVERSITY, RACIAL EQUALITY, BIAS, EQUALITY



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