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Lambda Legal Asks Illinois to Issue Accurate Birth Certificate that Affirms Gender Identities of Transgender Parents

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“An inaccurate birth certificate would create confusion, and for us that could be dangerous. What parent would accept that?”
December 17, 2019

(Chicago, IL, December 17, 2019) – Yesterday, Myles Brady Davis and Precious Brady-Davis announced the arrival of their child, who was born earlier this month. Myles, who carried and gave birth to their baby and identifies as transmasculine, and Precious, his wife who is a transgender woman, have requested that the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) issue an accurate birth certificate that does not misgender them and either describes them both as “co-parents,” or alternatively lists Myles in the field reserved for “Father/Co-Parent” and Precious as “Mother/Co-Parent.”

“We trust that IDPH will honor Myles’ and Precious’ request and issue a birth certificate that does not misgender them and accurately reflects their parentage,” said Kara Ingelhart, staff attorney at Lambda Legal. “Illinois has been a leader in taking steps to protect, recognize and respect the humanity and dignity of transgender and gender non-conforming people, such as facilitating access to accurate government-issued identity documents, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity, and improving access to gender-affirming health care for those receiving Medicaid.”

Concerned that Myles, as the person giving birth, would automatically be listed as the “Mother/Co-Parent” and Precious as “Father/Co-Parent”, a clear mistake that could compromise the family’s safety because of the confusion it might create, Myles and Precious contacted Lambda Legal for help. Attorneys prepared an advocacy letter for the parents, explaining the importance of accurate identity documents, including birth certificates, that affirm and respect transgender parents, and citing state and federal law that supports issuing an accurate birth certificate.

Documents such as birth certificates are essential to daily life. All parents and their children need accurate identity documents to establish their relationship to each other and to protect the child—in both routine and emergency events—for a variety of reasons such as enrolling a child in school, authorizing medical care, establishing eligibility for government benefits or child support, and to authorize a parent to pick up a child from daycare or school.

Additionally, accurate identity documents that are consistent—including birth certificates that correctly reflect the parents’ genders and their relationship to their children—are especially important for transgender people. Inaccurate identity documents invade the privacy of a family and open them up to discrimination, harassment, or even violence. According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, almost one-third of transgender people who showed an identity document with a name or gender marker that conflicted with their perceived gender were harassed, denied benefits or services, discriminated against, or assaulted. Transgender people also are disproportionately targeted for hate crimes.

“All families deserve to be safe and respected, so why would our family be any different?” said Myles Brady Davis. “For us, it is critical to have a birth certificate that affirms and respects who we are to each other as a family. An inaccurate birth certificate would create confusion, and for us that could be dangerous. What parent would accept that?”

“Words cannot express the love and joy I feel,” added Precious Brady-Davis. “I am in awe of Myles and our baby. We dreamed of the day we would finally be parents and now that this dream is a reality, we are going to do everything we can to protect one another.”

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Contact Info

Press contact: Graciela González, Direct: 312-605-3233; Cell: 312-545-8140; Email: ggonzalez@lambdalegal.org

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.

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