HONOLULU — Mika Inoue was in college when she faced some of the scariest threats against her life as a transgender woman.
One roommate in her dormitory at the University of Hawaii at Hilo put poisonous spiders in her bed, and another wrote a death threat and stuck it in her door with a knife, she said.
Now in a better place, Inoue, 25, is hoping to avoid those situations by getting a new birth certificate that confirms with her gender identity – female – without having to undergo surgery.
“I’ve gone through physical and verbal abuse from my parents, co-workers and peers alike because of how I didn’t fit what is expected of me,” Inoue said. “These things are real.”
A bill moving through the Hawaii House would enable people like Inoue to switch the gender identification on their birth certificates without getting sex reassignment surgery. Instead, they would provide a statement from a licensed medical or mental health provider.
The bill advanced out of the House Committee on Health on Wednesday. It now moves to the Judiciary Committee.
Article continues belowHaving identification that’s in sync with a person’s name and appearance could reduce harassment in schools and the workplace, supporters said.
“A lot of these people are scared for their lives,” Inoue said. “When you’re going into a workplace, you’re submitting a resume, and you have one name on your resume, but your birth certificate and ID and everything else says something different. It becomes a whole lot of questions from the employer.”
But opponents argue that a birth certificate is a historical record, and that allowing people to change it could affect couples contemplating a marriage or officiants performing the ceremony.