BOISE — A transgender woman is suing the state of Idaho for the right to change her gender on her birth certificate.
Identified be her initials F.V. in the court papers, which were filed in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, the lawsuit says F.V. has been living as a woman since she was 15 and has undergone sex reassignment treatments and changed her name to a feminine one on her driver’s license and in Social Security records. It says she contacted the Idaho Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics in March to change her gender on her birth certificate but was told she could not.
According to a news release from Lambda Legal, a pro-gay and transgender rights legal organization that is representing her, F.V. is now 28 and lives in Hawaii.
“Unlike nearly every other state in America, Idaho currently enforces a categorical ban against transgender people changing the gender on their birth certificates, which is an archaic policy that defies logic,” said Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Peter Renn. “In fact, government officials in Idaho know this, given that they allow transgender people to change the gender on their drivers’ licenses.”
Transgender rights have been politically controversial throughout the country over the past few years, with perhaps the highest-profile fights being over a recently repealed bill in North Carolina that required people to use the bathroom matching their sex on their birth certificate, and over an Obama-era rule that now-President Trump has revoked telling public schools to let students use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.
Concerns about bathroom use by transgender people were one of the most frequent objections cited by opponents of a proposed anti-discrimination law in Idaho that the Legislature killed in committee in 2015. However, even many other conservative states that don’t have anti-discrimination laws that cover gay and transgender people let people change their sex on their birth certificates to reflect their gender identity — Idaho, Tennessee, Kansas and Ohio are the only ones that don’t, according to Lambda Legal.
The lawsuit asks the court to declare Idaho’s policy unconstitutional and order state officials to let people change their birth certificates to align with their gender identity.
Scott Graf, spokesman for the Idaho Attorney General’s office, said the office doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
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