D.C. Council Introduces Bill Protecting Transgender Identities
The D.C. Council introduced today a bill that would bring city regulations in line with 23 states and the State Department in protecting the identities of individuals who undergo gender transitions. While David Catania (I-At Large) read the bill into the record, all 13 members of the Council are listed as either introducers or sponsors. The bill would revise the requirements for transgender people who have their names legally changed and ask for new birth certificates with the proper gender marker. Under current D.C. law, people who have their names changed are required to publish notices in a newspaper at least once a week for three consecutive weeks. For transgender people who change their name, this process can very easily lead to an inadvertent outing, says Andy Bowen, one of several activists who organized the bill. Instead, the bill would also require a transgender person's original birth certificate to be sealed from public view with the affidavit of a medical professional. This provision would also include transgender people who transition without surgery. "The only way you can gender marker switched is if you get surgery," Bowen says. "If anyone were to see it it would put you at risk for outing." Sexual reassignment surgeries can often run upward of $20,000. The bill is named for Deoni Jones, a transgender woman who was killed last February near a Metrobus stop at East Capitol and Sycamore Streets NE.