New Law Allowing Transgender Marylanders to Update Their Birth Certificates Takes Effect

FreeState Legal Offers Free Legal Assistance to Low-Income Transgender People
FreeState Legal client, Ken Jiretsu (left) with FreeState Legal Staff Attorney Rebecca Earlbeck at the Maryland Division of Vital Records in Baltimore on October 1, 2015

Baltimore – October 1, 2015 – This morning at the Maryland Division of Vital Records office in Baltimore, FreeState Legal client Ken Jiretsu, a transgender man, became the first person to apply for a new birth certificate under a Maryland law that takes effect today.  The new law, which passed this year in Maryland’s General Assembly, removes red tape and arbitrary requirements that made it very difficult for transgender and intersex Marylanders to update the gender marker on their birth certificate.

“It is such a relief to know that my birth certificate is finally changed and will accurately match all of my other documents,” said Jiretsu. “I will no longer have to explain why my driver’s license has a different gender marker than my birth certificate.”

One of the most significant changes under the new law is that transgender people are no longer required to prove that they have had expensive surgeries, which are often denied by health insurance, in order to update the gender on their birth certificate. FreeState Legal has worked with hundreds of clients who were eligible to update their name but were previously unable to update the gender marker on their birth certificate because of the excessive and outdated surgery requirement.

Read the full press release here.

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