Being born in Ohio means that I, as a transgender person, face different laws than those in other states. One of my big concerns is my birth certificate. I’ve written before on this, and how Ohio is one of only two states to not allow gender to be changed on a birth certificate. Further, the birth certificate is not sealed when you change your name, so anyone who sees your newly released certificate can see both your old and your new names on it. The latter rule does not affect just those in the transgender community. It affects anyone changing their name. It affects their privacy.

So, I’m starting a campaign to email members of the Ohio House of Representatives to try and get this changed. Here is a basic email I am sending out. Please feel free to change it to suit your situation. Also, even if you are not transgender, we need your support. If you were born in Ohio or live there now PLEASE consider emailing your current or former representative and asking them to change their birth certificate rules.

Go here to find your Representative (or the one you had when you lived in Ohio): Ohio House of Representatives Listed by Zip Code

Here is the basic email:

Dear Rep. _____________________,

I am writing to you as a former/current constituent of the district you represent in the Ohio House of Representatives. I was born and raised in Ohio, and therefore, my birth certificate comes from this state. This means that any changes that are made to my birth certificate are based on the laws of Ohio.

Did you know that Ohio is one of only TWO states in the United States that does not allow transgender residents to change their gender designation on their birth certificate? This means that 48 other states, even the most Conservative of states, are a step above Ohio when it comes to gender equality. Also, when anyone changes their name in Ohio, a new birth certificate is issued with the old name crossed out. This is not only unwise for those changing their name to reflect a change in gender, but also anyone changing their name to protect themselves from harm.

By allowing anyone who sees the birth certificate to see the crossed off, former name, Ohio is opening transgender individuals up to harassment and outing them, even when their physical appearance dictates the gender with which they perceive themselves. For example, a bushy faced man named Jim faces the fear of discrimination and hatred by those who happen to see that his name used to be Susan on his birth certificate. By sealing the old certificate and re-issuing a new one with the new name, as many states already do (i.e. Michigan), Ohio is showing it cares about all of its residents regardless of their gender.

I implore you to consider changing these grossly unfair birth certificate rules and regulations. They will benefit more than just your transgender constituents. They will also benefit women and children trying to escape abusive situations with a fresh start (changing names can be just the way to do that and to protect the children). Please consider proposing that Ohio change these practices, so this great state does not get left behind.

Thank you for your time!
Your Name

UPDATE: I also emailed Governor Ted Strickland with the same message above.

You can email him to by going here.

[tags]contact, Ohio, House of Representatives, Gender Equality, Transgender, Birth Certificate, Ohio Law, Lawmakers[/tags]

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