Ohio became the newest American state to allow transgender people born within the state to change the gender markers on their birth certificates. With this move, Tennessee is now the only state that does not allow this.
The federal court actually ruled in December 2020 that the state’s ban on birth certificate gender changes is unconstitutional. But it was only recently when the Ohio Department of Health announced that it will not appeal the ruling; instead, it will be working on a process for people to request the change, expecting to have the same in place by June 1.
The ruling made last year by the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio was in response to a lawsuit brought by four transgender people born in Ohio. The plaintiffs alleged that they were subjected to professional humiliation and verbal harassment, and there were threats to their safety as a result of not having a birth certificate aligned with their gender identity.
The court’s ruling specifically cited a 2015 survey done by the National Center for Transgender Equality that found that 36% of respondents in Ohio who showed an ID with a name or gender that did not match their gender presentation were “verbally harassed, denied benefits or service, asked to leave, or assaulted.”
All the same, there are still ongoing challenges for people who may want to amend their gender markers, since 14 US states require proof of gender affirmation surgery before allowing changes to be made.