(CNSNews.com) – The District of Columbia Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety has approved a bill that would allow anatomical males and females who have letters signed by a health professional indicating that they have “undergone a gender transition” to legally change the sex listed on their birth certificate.
The JaParker Deoni Jones Birth Certificate Equality Amendment Act of 2013 would amend current law that requires people who seek to change the sex on their birth certificate to have documentation that they have undergone a surgical sex change and to publish a public notice of the impending change.
The bill has cleared the committee and will be voted on by the whole council during the next legislative session, which has not been announced, according to committee staff.
Jones, a transgender male, was stabbed to death on Feb. 2, 2012 while waiting for a bus. A homeless man, Gary Montgomery, was charged with first-degree murder in the case and is awaiting trail, according to homicidewatch.org.
The bill amends the Vital Records Act of 1981 and directs that the D.C. Registrar “shall issue a new birth certificate that reflects the new gender designation of an individual born in the District of Columbia.”
The bill requires from a parent, guardian or legal representative “a statement, signed under penalty of law, by a health-care provider licensed in the District of Columbia who has treated or evaluated the individual stating that the individual has undergone surgical, hormonal, or other medically appropriate treatment for a gender transition.”
The bill also ends the practice of marking birth certificates as “amended” and states that a new birth certificate will be issued and the original birth certificate “sealed.”
“The original certificate of birth, along with other documents submitted pursuant to this subsection, shall be sealed and made available only upon the demand of the individual to whom the new certificate of birth was issued or an order of the court,” the bill reads.
CNSNews.com asked a series of questions to the committee, which were answered by Charles Allen, chief of staff for council member Tommy Wells, who is chairman of the committee.
CNSNews.com asked if the legislation, if passed, could allow people to get a new birth certificate as a way to evade detection from law enforcement or for other nefarious purposes.
“According to testimony, the Office of the Attorney General and the Metropolitan Police Department reviewed the bill and expressed no such concern,” Allen said.
CNSNews.com asked if the law will allow a man or a woman to get a U.S. passport with their new sex designated on their birth certificate even if the man or woman’s biological sex has not been changed.
“This law is squarely designed to allow an individual to have a correct or un-amended birth certificate issued to them that reflects accurate gender identification,” Allen said.
According to the American Psychological Association, gender identity is “when one’s gender identity and biological sex are not congruent, the individual may identify as transsexual or as another transgender category.”
CNSNews.com also asked how the bill is beneficial to the District and its citizens when the estimated number of transgenders in D.C. represents an estimated 500 or less than 0.1 percent of the 632,323 population (see link to Census data).
Andy Bowen, an activist with the DC Trans Coalition, estimated the transgender population for a story on the local NBC affiliate website on the pending legislation.
“There is never a level of discrimination that becomes an acceptable level of discrimination,” Allen said.
CNSNews.com asked Allen if any actions have been taken to encourage Congress, which has jurisdiction over D.C. laws, to pass the bill.
“We fully expect the Congress to respect the legislative directive of the officials elected by the residents of the District of Columbia,” Allen said.
CNSNews.com asked House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) via email through his spokesperson, Michael Steele, if Boehner wanted to comment on the likelihood of the bill’s passage in the House or any other comments he wanted to provide for this report.
No response was received from Boehner’s spokesperson or his office.
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