(March 15) – A bill to remove one of the many obstacles that transgender people must overcome to live safely in Colorado won final House approval this morning. The vote was 37-26.

HB17-1122, sponsored by Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, would remove the current requirement that transgender people undergo sex reassignment surgery and appear before a judge before being allowed to change the gender marker on their birth certificates.

Costly sex reassignment surgery is no longer regarded as a standard procedure for transgender people. Under the bill, an affidavit from a licensed health care provider attesting that the petitioner “has undergone treatment appropriate for that person for the purpose of gender transition” would suffice for obtaining a new birth certificate. The change would align with the process already in effect for Colorado drivers’ licenses and for federal documents like passports and Social Security cards.

“We want to make sure that somebody’s birth certificate doesn’t get in the way of their housing, doesn’t get in the way of getting hired,” Rep. Esgar said during committee testimony last week.

Transgender Coloradans frequently face severe workplace discrimination. Transgender people also have higher rates of suicide and are victims of violent crime and bullying at much higher rates than the general population. The bill will help remove one of the hurdles they face as they undergo their transition.

HB17-1122 is headed to the Senate.

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