People in Utah can now change their name and gender on their birth certificate.
This comes as a huge step for members of Utah‘s transgender community who no longer identify as the same gender they were born as.
The Utah Supreme Court made the ruling yesterday, May 6, which came after two transgender residents made an appeal to be change their certificates.
One appellant was Sean Childers-Gray. The 128-page court filing detailed that Childers-Gray is ‘a transgender man who was assigned female at birth. He lives 100% as a male and holds himself out as a male to his family, friends, and the public.’
The man was reportedly diagnosed with gender identity disorder and underwent hormone therapy to change his physical appearance, KJZZ reports. At the time of the appeal, he had been undergoing hormone therapy for over three years.
The second appellant was Angie Rice. Angie was born male but now ‘lives 100% as a female’. She was diagnosed with gender dysphoria and, similar to Childers-Gray, has been having hormone therapy for a number of years to alter her physical appearance.
Their journey to the Supreme Court stems back to the 2018, KSL News Radio reports. In the process of getting their case to the Supreme Court, their application to change their gender on their birth certificate denied by the lower courts, but they agreed Rice and Childers-Gray could change their name.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the changing of both their name and gender.
They voted in favour of their requests based on three things: the district court granted the name change requests and found no reason to deny them; they both met what the court laid out as an ‘objective medical standard’ as they provided letters from a doctor about their treatment and transition; and because district court’s orders included a legal error.
The legal error was that Rice’s request was denied because the ‘application suggested only the legislature could decide what standards apply for such a request’, while the reasoning for Childers-Gray’s denial has since ‘revealed ‘[u]nsupported generalizations’ and concerns that Utah case law prohibits.
Attorney Chris Wharton, who represented Childers-Gray and Rice, described the Supreme Court’s decision as ‘a long time coming’.
We are grateful that our clients’ right to live as their authentic selves has been upheld by the court. While the decision was a long time coming, there is nothing radical about the outcome – the right to be treated equally regardless of which county or judicial district you are in.
Wharton added, ‘This day is about Angie and Sean, but will also have profound significance on transgender Utahns.’
Meanwhile, Equality Utah Executive Director Troy Williams said, ‘It has been an unprecedented year for transgender Americans. Over 30 states introduced legislation to restrict the freedom of transgender youth. But here in Utah, we chart a different path.’
Hats off to Utah for taking steps towards being more inclusive.
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