Idaho born transgender woman sues for the right to change gender on birth certificate

Posted at 10:41 PM, Apr 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-20 00:41:06-04

A transgender woman is suing the top health officials in Idaho for the right to change the gender on her birth certificate. The legal action comes after the woman's attorneys alleges their client was humiliated by staff at a federal social security office.

"We know from statistics that one out of three transgender people who show an identity document that doesn't match who they are face harassment, sometimes even violence," said Peter Renn, an Attorney with Lambda Legal who is representing the plaintiff.

Attorneys for the transgender woman, identified only by the initials F.V. in court documents, say that's just what happened to their client in March. They allege when she tried to change the gender on her birth certificate at a social security office, clerks denied the request. The attorneys say staff at the office called their client a "tranny." A lawsuit filed against Idaho's top health officials says not letting F.V change the gender on her birth certificate violates her civil liberties.

"We're asking the court to recognize Idaho's current practice is illegal and unconstitutional because it invades the privacy of transgender people and also doesn't treat them fairly and equally compared to other people," said Renn.

6 On Your Side reached out to the Idaho Attorney General's office. They say they are aware of the litigation but would not comment. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare also declined to comment, citing pending litigation. Idaho is just one of four states that does not allow transgender people change their gender on their birth certificate, but attorneys note that you can change your gender on your driver's license in the Gem State.

"And so what you end up with is a system that is incoherent, and it undermines the very point of having identity documents," said Renn.

A court date for this case has not been set, Lambda Legal who is representing the plaintiff in the case has also filed a similar lawsuit in Puerto Rico.