Recently, a class action lawsuit in Tucson was certified by a federal court after several claims were made against a law that requires a “sex change operation” in order to change a person’s gender on their birth certificate.
The lawsuit affects all transgender people in Arizona and was first filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) on behalf of three families with transgender children three years ago. The plaintiffs who filed the claim, argued that the inability to change their official gender on their birth certificate was harmful and delegitimized their identities.
The NCLR said “Any time they need to produce a birth certificate, they are forced to disclose their transgender status, which is private information that a person should be free to share or not.”
Like many historically conservative states, Arizona has seen a rise in anti-transgender legislation over the past two years. In March of 2022, former Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill restricting access to gender-affirming care.
Since then Arizona has made more strides to become an inclusive and accepting state, electing Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs in the 2022 election. Since taking office, Hobbs has vetoed a bill that proposed a ban on using transgender children’s correct pronouns and names in schools.
In 2022, former Gov. Ducey also signed a bill that would prevent transgender athletes from competing in girl’s and women’s sports, which was temporarily struck down by a federal judge last month. This lawsuit opposing surgical requirements for gender changes in official documents is another step in the right direction as Arizona becomes an increasingly purple state, a battleground territory to be won in the upcoming presidential election.
The case is ongoing, but a positive outcome is expected. NCLR’s staff attorney Rachel Berg said “We are thrilled that this case will now apply to all transgender individuals born in Arizona who wish to amend their birth certificates to accurately reflect their gender identity. Access to correct identity documents is critically important to the health and well-being of transgender people.”