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Transgender Illinoisans Win Changes On Birth Certificates

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Three Illinois residents who have changed their gender are going to get new birth certificates that reflect the change.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s David Roe reports, the change was made because of a lawsuit and a judge’s order.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s David Roe reports

Lauren Grey, Victor Williams and Nicholas Guarino filed the lawsuit against the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Grey started the process of changing her gender in 2001, but her birth certificate still says she is a man. Williams and Guarino’s birth certificates still identify them as women.

“I’ve struggled for too many years to be able to live as a woman only to have a birth certificate that constantly reminds me of the gender I’ve worked so hard to put behind me,” Grey said in an American Civil Liberties Union news release when the lawsuit was filed. “I am who I am.”

The lawsuit filed by the ACLU said since about 2005, the state has refused to change anyone’s gender on birth certificates unless that person has undergone genital reassignment surgery.

However, the lawsuit says: “what is medically and psychologically necessary treatment for transsexual persons varies from person-to-person and does not always include genital surgery. Especially for transsexual men, genital surgery is rarely completed.”

While Cook County judge ordered the state to issue new certificates to three who sued, state law on the subject has not changed.

“There has been no change in the rule as yet – and even the proposed rule includes no clear assurance that the state will not continue to require transgender individuals to undergo unnecessary surgeries.” ACLU attorney John Knight said in a news release. “The court’s ruling granting birth certificates applies only to our three clients.”

Knight said the ACLU hopes for a court order that would forbid the state from requiring genital surgery for a change on a birth certificate.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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