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Committee sends transgender ID-marker bill to House
by Matt Simonette

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Legislation easing requirements for transgender Illinoisans wishing to change the gender-marker on their state-issued identification, on March 15, cleared the House Human Services committee by a vote of 7-4.

HB 1785, sponsored by state Rep. Greg Harris ( D-Chicago ), would allow transgender individuals wishing to change their ID gender-marker to do so with proof of clinically appropriate treatment. The state has allowed for changing gender-markers since the '50s but the current law requires the applicant to show proof that they have undergone gender-reassignment surgery, which some transgender persons may not be willing or able to undergo.

Harris reintroduced the bill in February, saying at the time that it reflected more current standards in medical care for transgender persons. The bill now goes to the House for a full vote.

In a statement, John Knight, director of ACLU Illinois' LGBT and HIV Project, said, "The Committee today took an important step to protect people in Illinois who are transgender or intersex. No one should face the dilemma of being denied a birth certificate that conforms with their gender simply because they are unable—or cannot afford—to undergo surgery that the medical community agrees is not necessary for everyone who transitions.

"…People who are transgender and intersex should make their own medical decisions with the guidance of medical health professionals—not politicians. We thank Representative Greg Harris for his leadership, and we hope the House acts quickly to pass this bill and send it to the Senate."

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