On Tuesday, a transgender woman in Iowa filed a lawsuit against the state over the right to correct her birth certificate. The woman, identified only by the initials F.V., filed her suit with Lambda Legal to challenge the state's refusal to allow trans people to correct the gender on their birth certificates.
The lawsuit, which Lambda Legal has shared, alleges that the woman has been humiliated as a result of not being able to correct her birth certificate, having been called "tranny" and "faggot" in a federal social security office.
"The incorrect gender on F.V.’s birth certificate has exposed her to hostility when she visited the social security office," the lawsuit states. "After seeing her birth certificate, staff at the office referred to her as a 'tranny,' a derogatory term that disclosed F.V.’s transgender status to others in the waiting area. One of these individuals then called F.V. a 'faggot' as she was leaving the office."
According to the Transgender Center For Equality, Idaho doesn't allow the amendment of gender on a birth certificate, though it does allow people to update their names and genders on driver's licenses.
"Unlike nearly every other state in America, Idaho currently enforces a categorical ban against transgender people changing the gender on their birth certificates, which is an archaic policy that defies logic," Lambda Legal senior attorney Peter Renn said in a statement. "In fact, government officials in Idaho know this, given that they allow transgender people to change the gender on their drivers’ licenses."
The lawsuit argues that not only is it discriminatory and unconstitutional to deny transgender people the ability to obtain accurate birth certificates, it is also a violation of their First Amendment rights.
"This policy is not only archaic and out-of-step with the rest of America but also dangerous," Renn added. "Forcing transgender Idahoans to go through life with inaccurate birth certificates, a basic form of identification, unnecessarily exposes them to discrimination, harassment, and violence. It also denies them their very identity."
"Identity documents communicate to the world who you are. No one should have to represent that they are someone they are not."
F.V., who is now 28 and living in Hawaii, said in a statement that she simply wants to be able to be recognized for who she is.
“I just want a birth certificate that accurately reflects who I am,” she said. “I hope that Idaho will give me the dignity of deciding when complete strangers get to know deeply private information about my life. Like so many transgender people, I’ve been on the receiving end of harassment and outright violence. It costs Idaho nothing to correct this piece of paper and recognize me as the woman that I am."