New Law Ensures that Death Certificates Will Accurately Record Gender for All

Yesterday Rhode Island became the third jurisdiction to adopt a law to ensure transgender people’s gender identities are respected on death certificates when Governor Gina Raimondo signed into law H7765/ S2614, known as the “Respect in Death” bill.

The new law sets clear procedures for funeral directors and others to create death certificates that accurately reflect a transgender person’s gender. It passed both the Senate and House by healthy margins. California and the District of Columbia have similar laws.

“Everyone deserves to have their dignity honored in death,” said Patience Crozier, Senior Staff Attorney at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), who provided testimony in support of the law. “We are thrilled that transgender Rhode Islanders now have that assurance. We were proud to work with TGI Network Rhode Island, LGBTQ Action RI, and the ACLU of RI on making this a reality.”

A lack of guidance on this issue has meant that death certificates sometimes wrongly reflect the sex assigned a transgender person at birth, rather than their lived gender. This law ensures that the identity of transgender Rhode Islanders is respected upon death.