EqualityMaine Applauds DHHS Rule Simplifying Process for Changing Gender Designation on Birth Certificates, Adding X Option

For Immediate Release

July 13, 2020

EqualityMaine Applauds DHHS Rule Simplifying Process for Changing Gender Designation on Birth Certificates, Adding X Option  

Today the Maine Department of Health and Human Services Office of Data, Research, and Vital Statistics issued its updated rule for amending gender markers on birth certificates. The finalized rule completes a process that included a notice of agency rulemaking, followed by a public hearing in March and a public comment period that concluded earlier this spring.

The finalized rule, which goes into immediate effect on Tuesday July 14th, allows an adult to request a new birth record reflecting the appropriate gender marker by filing a notarized attestation on a department-approved form. The rule also allows for an X gender designation for folks who identify as neither exclusively male nor exclusively female. No court order or signature from a medical provider would be required. 

For a minor, the parent(s) must submit a notarized attestation, along with the signature of a licensed physician or licensed mental health care provider.

The rule promotes consistency in state identity documents, as Mainers have been able to obtain an X gender designation on driver’s licenses and state IDs since 2018, and to change their gender marker on driver’s license and state IDs without a signature from a medical provider since 2019.

All people – regardless of gender identity – need accurate and consistent identity documents and records to open bank accounts, start new jobs, enroll in schools, obtain health care, travel, and more. Many people never have to worry about whether or not these documents accurately convey who they are. But for others, living with identity documents that do not match up with who they are creates enormous difficulties and discrimination; according to the Maine State Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 22% of respondents whose ID did not match their gender presentaton indicated they had been harrassed, denied benefits, or assaulted.

“These changes are really exciting and will make a significant difference in the lives of transgender folks like myself, and people whose gender identity is neither exclusively male nor exlusively female. We’ve heard from so many people, as well as from parents of trans and gender expansive youth, who’ve become so frustrated with the outdated process. I hope the news of these necessary and affirming changes bring some light to people during these unsettling times,” said Gia Drew, Program Director for EqualityMaine.

“Transgender and nonbinary folks are under attack in Washington and across the country, but here in Maine we’re continuing our progress towards full equality,” said Matt Moonen, Executive Director of EqualityMaine. “We’re thrilled that many Mainers will have one less thing to worry about because they will finally be able to obtain appropriate and consistent identity documents.”

Founded in 1984, EqualityMaine is dedicated to achieving full equality under the law for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Mainers, and currently has more than 70,000 members statewide.

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