GLAD heralds streamlined process for amending gender designation on Maine birth certificates
July 14, 2020
Today a new Maine Department of Health and Human Services rule went into effect that removes unnecessary barriers to amending gender markers on birth certificates, and makes available the option of choosing an X marker.
The new rule allows individuals over 18 and emancipated minors to obtain an updated birth record with their appropriate gender marker via a notarized attestation, without the requirement of a medical affidavit or court order. The rule also provides for the option of an X marker, allowing for more accurate records for individuals who do not identify as exclusively female or male, including those who may identify as nonbinary or intersex. Parents or legal guardians of minor children can request an updated birth record for their child by submitting a notarized attestation combined with certification from a licensed medical or mental health care provider.
“This is an important development for people across Maine who simply want to live their lives as who they are and avoid the barriers created legally and socially from inaccurate gender markers on official identification,” said Mary L. Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD). “Birth records are a critically important means for personal identification. The change to a simpler administrative process for amending gender markers and the inclusion of an X marker to recognize a range of gender identities are both in line with the approach taken in a growing number of states, as well as other Maine agencies including the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. These changes also reflect the recommendations of authoritative medical and other professionals, including the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, who understand that diverse gender identities and expressions are normal and positive variations of human experience.”
The roll out of the finalized rule follows a process that included a public hearing in March and a public comment period this spring, in which GLAD participated, and will apply to amending gender markers on other important records including marriage and death certificates.
Individuals seeking additional information or assistance in amending gender markers on identification documents are encouraged to reach out to the ID Project, operated by GLAD, Ropes & Gray and Goodwin. The ID Project pairs transgender individuals across New England with attorneys offering free and confidential assistance with gender marker and name changes.