A a proposed bill in Arkansas would prohibit changes to a person’s gender marker on their birth certificate, a move that would disproportionately affect transgender Arkansans. The bill, H.B. 1894, doubles down on discrimination, and would make an onerous process even more difficult for transgender Arkansans seeking to have their identification documents reflect their gender identity.
Current state law makes it difficult and expensive for transgender people to update their birth certificate, requiring them to undergo surgery just to get an amended document. It is shameful that this law exists, given that medical professionals recommend individualized courses of gender transition. Even among those for whom surgery is appropriate, many cannot receive it because their insurance doesn’t cover such care, appropriate providers may not be available, and medical procedures may not be an option because of a pre-existing condition.
“This bill is a mean-spirited attempt to further marginalize and target transgender Arkansans by denying them the dignity of having their official government documents reflect who they are,” said Kendra R. Johnson, HRC Arkansas state director.“Not allowing transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificate opens them up to all types of discrimination — including in housing, employment and health care. This bill is dangerous, insidious, and HRC Arkansas opposes it.”