SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill designed to make it easier for transgender Californians to obtain birth certificates reflecting name and gender changes.
Currently, people born in California can only get their birth certificates amended by court order, a process that transgender rights advocates argued is expensive and needlessly invasive since a legal notice of the requested changes has to be published in a newspaper.
The bill the governor signed Tuesday, AB1121 by San Diego Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, authorizes the state registrar to issue a birth certificate with a corrected sex to a transgender person who provides proof of having undergone appropriate medical treatment.
AB 1121 will allow individuals to bypass the court and apply directly to the Office of Vital Records to amend a birth certificate. That will both streamline individuals’ access to corrected birth certificates and reduce the caseloads of overwhelmed courts.
The bill would also make the name change process more private and affordable for transgender people, exempting them from the requirement that a person pay to publish a notice of the intended name change in the local newspaper for four weeks.
Judges will still have to sign off on name changes, but will be able to do so without holding a formal hearing.
Atkins said the bill will provide transgender people with “a simple, inexpensive, and private process for changing their names and documents to be consistent with their gender identity.”