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Illinois revamping system to let birth mother identify as father on child's birth certificate

Illinois revamping system to let birth mother identify as father on child's birth certificate

Hand holding a paper sheet with transgender symbol and equal sign inside. | Getty

As part of an ongoing push to legally recognize transgender identities, Illinois is changing its policies to allow women who identify as trans to be listed as the father on their children's birth certificates.

The Midwestern state is updating its birth certificate registry to record the self-declared gender identity on such documents after a female who identifies as "transmasculine" asked to be officially listed as her child's father, NBC's Chicago affiliate WMAQ reported Sunday.

Although these identity categories have no precise definition in material terms — unlike the verifiable fact of biological sex — along with gender identity, "gender expression" is sometimes being added as a legal designation in various civil rights statutes, regulations, and administrative systems.

“Growing up, I always wanted to be a dad, so now that I’m a father, it means a lot to me that my child’s identifying document states that,” Myles Brady-Davis, the woman asking listed as the father, said.

Brady-Davis learned soon after giving birth to a baby girl last month that the Illinois Department of Public Health automatically names the parent who gives birth as “Mother/Co-Parent" on birth certificates.

“I know that I’m not the first transmasculine person in the state to go through this process, and I definitely won’t be the last,” Myles Brady-Davis said. “We’re just glad we’re making it easier for the next person.”

In August, Illinois passed a law permitting "non-binary" gender markers — designating an individual's sex as 'X' instead of M or F — on state identification documents and driver’s licenses, but they will not appear until the card issuance system technology is updated, likely in 2024, the Chicago Sun-Times reported at the time.

Among gender identity activists, it is said that female persons who identify as transmasculine do not always identify as male and that gender identity is a nebulous "internal sense" of their gender.

Critics of gender identity, whose views span the political spectrum, often say that codifying gender into law amounts to legally enshrining subjective sex stereotypes and thus undermines sex-based rights, and that it is a belief system, invented and embraced by a small subset of society, which claims that an affinity for sex stereotypes is innate and immutable.

Illinois' move comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed by a transgender-identifying teen who was born in New York and now lives in Texas and wants to change the sex on her birth certificate to male, even though biologically she is a female. Only a handful of states — California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Washington — presently permit transgender-identifying minors to alter the sex marker on their birth records.

“Possessing accurate identification documents that are consistent with a person’s gender identity — a person’s core internal sense of their own gender — is essential to their basic social and economic well-being,” the teen's lawsuit reads.

Both the trans-identifying teen suing New York state and the transmasculine-identifying female seeking to be listed as the "father" on her child's birth certificate in Illinois were represented by Lambda Legal.

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