EQUAL PROTECTION: Repeal Surgery Requirement for Gender Change on Birth Certificate (HB 2093) (2013)

After the passage of HB 2093 and taking effect January 1, 2014, transgender people in Oregon will no longer have to show proof of surgery in order to change their birth certificates to accurately reflect their gender. Previously, Oregon law required surgery in order to update a birth certificate gender marker, even for those transgender people who did not need or want it, or were unable to access surgery for financial, medical, or other reasons. The ACLU supported the great work of state agency and LGBT advocate partners to reach this victory.

Gender identity is a person’s psychological identification as male or female, which for transgender people may differ from that person’s anatomical sex. When an individual transitions his or her gender to better align these two things that individual’s transition and treatment aim to permit him or her to participate fully and comfortably in society in the gender role with which he or she identifies.

While medical treatments, including surgery, are critical to a healthy transition and medically necessary for many transgender people, medical authorities recognize that each transgender person’s specific course of treatment must be determined on an individual basis with the patient’s physician. Surgery is not a universally required or prescribed aspect of gender transition.

Many public and private insurance carriers have historically refused to cover gender- transition-related surgical procedures, leaving them out of reach even for those patients who do need them. And yet, for decades Oregon law has required that transgender individuals seeking to obtain accurate birth certificates undergo costly surgical procedures without regard for whether they wanted or had any medical need for the surgeries.

Long overdue, HB 2093 aligns Oregon law with well-established medical standards. It promotes fairness and equality and makes life easier for transgender people born in Oregon.
Vote: 60-0 House, 28-1-1 Senate
47-10-3 House concurrence