Federal Court Strikes Down Ohio Prohibition on Birth Certificate Changes for Transgender People

Until today, Ohio had the ignominious distinction of being one of only two states that prohibited transgender people from changing their genders on their birth certificates.

click to enlarge A transgender pride flag - Photo: Sharon McCutcheon
Photo: Sharon McCutcheon
A transgender pride flag

Until today, Ohio had the ignominious distinction of being one of only two states that prohibited transgender people from changing their genders on their birth certificates. (Tennessee is the other.)

But with a ruling by the U.S. District Court in Southern Ohio, that prohibition is no more. The ruling in the Ray v. McCloud lawsuit, originally filed more than two years ago on behalf of plaintiffs Stacie Ray, Basil Argento, Ashley Breda and Jane Doe, means that Ohio's blanket prohibition on trans people correcting their birth certificates is unconstitutional.

“Today’s ruling affirms that the state must recognize the dignity and true identity of every transgender Ohioan," said ACLU of Ohio attorney Elizabeth Bonham, in a press release. "It is incredibly frustrating that our clients faced years of unlawful discrimination, but today we celebrate this victory as an acknowledgement to their commitment to justice."

ACLU of Ohio filed the suit alongside Lambda Legal, the national ACLU and Thompson Hine LLC.

The ACLU noted that roughly one third of transgender people surveyed in 2015 reported that when they presented identifying documents with names or gender markers in conflict with their perceived gender, they were "harassed, denied benefits or services, discriminated against, or assaulted. The Federal court ruling will allow transgender people to ensure that these crucial documents are consistent with their identities. 

“This is truly a victory for the LGBT community, in every aspect,” said plaintiff Stacie Ray.


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