Tuesday, October 6, 2015

PA 15-132 An Act Concerning Birth Certificates (Part 6 of 6 – Signing)

It was a great honor that CTAC was invited to signing of the bill.

After the ceremony we were handed the signed copy of the law and a pen that he used to sign the bill, which we will donate to the LGBT collection at the Elihu Burritt Library on the campus of Central Connecticut State University.


GLAD has a birth certificate tool kit to help you with the paperwork.

Monday, October 5, 2015

PA 15-132 An Act Concerning Birth Certificates (Part 5 of 6 – The Senate)

Reprinted from Diana’s Little Corner In The Nutmeg State by permission

I have been monitoring my emails and then on June 1, I received an email from our lobbyist saying we were on today’s Senate calendar, so I started monitoring CT-N Senate telecast. All day long I listen to classical music (that is what CT-N plays when the Senate is out of session). Then around 3:30 I heard the Senate called to order…RATS! I was just heading out the door to go to the local NBC station to comment on the Craitlyn Jenner Vanity Fair article.

When I got home the message light was blinking with a message from my state senator’s aide, I had called and emailed her asking her to bring the bill up for a vote in the Senate. The message said that the bill was just being heard in the Senate. I looked at the timestamp of the voice message and it was twenty minutes ago. So I turned on CT-N and another bill was now being heard.

I checked my email and there were emails from out lobbyist and the other members of the coalition all congratulating and thanking Betty Gallo. The bill had passed not ten minutes ago!

CT-N has a rewind feature so I rewound it about a half hour and watched the short debate.

Senator Gerratana (D) from the 6th District from my district read the bill and Senator Markley (R) from the 16th asked a question about “other treatment clinically appropriate” and what did it mean. Sen. Gerratana replied by reading from the WPATH Standard of Care . Sen. Markley then asked if there were any other New England state that have a similar law, Sen. Gerratana replied saying yes, Vermont and Rhode Island.

Sen. Witkos (R) from the 8th District asked if we would have to go through Probate Court to change our birth certificate, Sen. Gerratana said no, only if it was for an out of state birth certificate. Sen. Witkos then asked some medical procedure questions and it was fun watching Sen. Witkos and Sen. Gerratana discussing genital on the floor of the Senate.

The bill was then voted on… Yea 32, Nay 3, and absent and not voting 1

The Hartford Courant said this about the floor debate,
Sen. Terry Gerratana, the co-chairwoman of the legislature's public health committee, said the bill is indicative of an evolving understanding of gender transformation. "Standards of care change and the bill reflects ... the best standard of care is regarding gender change,'' the New Britain Democrat said.

Sen. Joe Markley, R-Southington, was among the bipartisan majority backing the measure. "I often feel like I lack the expertise to make decisions on subjects like this," he said. "However in light of the information I've received, and the testimony that we heard at the community level, I'm prepared to support the bill as it stands."
In a Wall Street Journal article Sen. Markley is quoted,
“We are talking about making changes to things which have been established by law and custom for a long, long time,” said state Sen. Joe Markley. In an interview last week, the Republican lawmaker said he was reluctant to support the legislation but voted in favor of it Monday. “It becomes a matter of where you draw the line. I don’t know where medically, psychologically, where that line should be.”
Governor Malloy said that he will sign the bill and it will take effect on October 1st

No one person can pass legislation, it takes a coalition and our coalition members (In alphabetical order) were…
American Civil Liberties Union of CT (ACLU)
CT TransAdvocacy Coalition (CTAC)
CT Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF)
Equality Federation
Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD)
National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE)
Planned Parenthood of Southern New England
True Colors
And many thanks to Rachel and also the ACLU for providing our lobbyist Betty Gallo of Gallo & Robinson LLC.

Part 6 will be on my thought on working on this legislation...


GLAD has a birth certificate tool kit to help you with the paperwork.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

PA 15-132 An Act Concerning Birth Certificates (Part 4 of 6 – The House)

Reprinted from Diana’s Little Corner In The Nutmeg State by permission

Now the waiting begins, when would our bill get voted on in the House, the days ticked by and I worried that it was going to be like 2009 when the bill came up for a vote on the last day of the session and the Republicans talked the bill to death. Would history repeat itself?

Then on the night of the 14th just before I went out to a LGBT Dinner and Movie at a the Simsbury Senior Center I received an email from our lobbyist, Betty Gallo saying that our bill will to be heard that night. I was torn between going to the dinner or rushing up to the capitol but since I was one of the people who suggested the senior centers have LGBT night I figured I should go to the dinner. However, I kept on eye on my email. Then at 9:04 came this brief email... "Debate begins in the House." and I held my breath.

That was followed by this email at 9:13, “Bill passed 126-18” then came all the emails from all those who worked on the bill, we were ecstatic. The bipartisan support continued in the House.

The CT Mirror reported,
An easier path to new ID for transgender persons
By: Mark Pazniokas
May 14, 2015

With little debate, the House of Representatives voted 126 to 18 Thursday night for legislation easing the way for transgender people to legally change their sex on birth certificates, drivers’ licenses and other forms of identification in Connecticut.
“It affects a very small group of people, but it makes a huge difference in their lives,” said Betty Gallo, a long-time lobbyist on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.
The Hartford Courant wrote,
"There are some individuals who cannot have the surgery,'' said Rep. Matt Ritter, co-chairman of the legislature's public health committee, which has jurisdiction over birth certificates and other vital records.

"There are medical reasons. Sometimes there are financial implications,'' Ritter said. "So we've created a new mechanism to allow one to amend their original birth certificate with conditions."
The transcripts of the House session showed that the discussion and vote lasted less than nine minutes.

Now the bill moves on to the Senate.


GLAD has a birth certificate tool kit to help you with the paperwork.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

PA 15-132 An Act Concerning Birth Certificates (Part 3 of 6 – Public Health Committee)

Reprinted from Diana’s Little Corner of the Nutmeg State by permission.

Our strategy was basically the same as the defense against the insurance bill but in reverse. We only wanted a few people to testify on behalf of the bill, we wanted healthcare providers, a lawyer, and members of the trans community speak for the bill. We knew that the bill had the support of the governor’s office and the Democrat leadership in the legislature. What we didn’t know was what the opposition would do, we want to keep everything low key and not have a lobby day or anything like that, we figured the less talk about the bill the easier it would sail through the legislature. Because there are many ways to defeat a bill besides voting, like talking it to death like they did in the House for the gender inclusive non-discrimination bill in 2007.

We also feared some might happen like it did in Colorado, according to the Colorado Independent,
When it was Norton’s turn to testify, he explained that he was representing a group called Colorado Family Action, one of 38 family groups across the nation tied to Colorado Springs-based evangelical empire Focus on the Family.
“The testimony here today doesn’t justify a wholesale change to the law,” he said. “The members of the General Assembly [may] make it more likely that [the people of Colorado] will be subject to fraudulent activity.” He referred to an estate case in Texas in which Thomas Araguz claimed to have never been told that his wife had been born a boy. After Araguz died, his mother sued to have the marriage declared void.

The case is ongoing.

“It is not just fraudulent inducements to marry that may be more likely to occur,” he explained.
The day of the committee hearing on the bill I was at home waiting for a call to testify and when I got the call I must have set a record to drive from my home to Hartford. There were only about six of us to testify for the bill and no one testified against it and the committee received about eighteen written testimonies for the bill, all of them favorable.

The committee vote amazed me, the vote didn't go anyway I expected...
Total voting: 25, Yea: 23, Nay: 2, Abstain: 0, Absent/Not voting: 3
What that meant was that the bill has strong bipartisan support because eleven of the committee members are Republican. Before the vote we heard that the Republicans were going to introduce an amendment and to get the word out to our organizations to have people call or email the committee members to vote for the bill.

The minutes from the committee shows that there was only a positive discussion about the bill,
Senator Gerratana asked for a motion to JFS* to the Floor H.B. No. 7006 (RAISED) An Act Concerning Birth Certificate Amendments.

A motion was made by Representative Ritter and seconded by Representative Riley.

Representative Ritter explained that current law prohibits sex designation to be changed on birth certificates unless the individual undergoes a gender reassignment surgery. This bill will allow a sex designation to be changed on birth certificates with a notarized affidavit from a licensed physician, APRN, or psychologist stating that the person has undergone surgical, hormonal, or other appropriate treatment.

Representative Perillo asked if this legislation provides any advantages given to an individual.

Representative Ritter referred to testimony submitted to the committee which addressed the awkwardness for individuals who apply for employment whereas birth certificates are required for the application process.

Representative Srinivasan asked for clarification of other clinically approved treatments as written in the bill.

Representative Ritter acknowledged that there have been questions on this term from both sides of the aisle and a definition may be beneficial as the bill moves forward in the House.

Representative Srinivasan asked if this bill restricts a person who changes their gender and then decides to change back.

Representative Ritter pointed to line 40 in the bill which identifies the required written statement that an applicant's gender differs from the sex designated on the original birth certificate.
Representative Zoni asked if there are age restrictions for gender change.

Representative Ritter explained that there are no major restrictions under Title VII.
The next stop is the House.

GLAD has a birth certificate tool kit to help you with the paperwork.

Friday, October 2, 2015

PA 15-132 An Act Concerning Birth Certificates (Part 2 of 6 – Side Tracked)

Reprinted from Diana’s Little Corner of the Nutmeg State by permission.

While we were waiting for the bill to be introduced in the Public Health Committee, we received word that in the Insurance and Real Estate committee a bill was introduced to take away our insurance coverage. The bill was HB5193 was introduced by a Republican,
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:That title 38a of the general statutes be amended to specify that health insurance policies delivered, issued for delivery, renewed, amended or continued in this state shall not be required to provide coverage for gender reassignment surgery or related surgical expenses.
Statement of Purpose:To specify that health insurance policies delivered, issued for delivery, renewed, amended or continued in this state shall not be required to provide coverage for gender reassignment surgery or related surgical expenses.
In his testimony Rep. Sampson R-Wolcott said in part,
I initially proposed this bill in response to bulletin IC-37 released by the State of Connecticut Insurance Department December 19, 2013 which mandated entities issuing individual and group health insurance to provide certain types of coverage for gender reassignment surgery. I find the a bold action disconcerting because it is the duty of the State of Connecticut General Assembly to make the determination of what health insurance coverage should be mandated and not the Insurance Department. It is also my sincere belief that this issue must be properly vetted through the legislative process.

Notwithstanding the concerns addresses above, this policy raises a whole host of issues that deserve to be heard and reviewed to determine is this should remain the law in our state. For instance, many respected medical professionals claim that this procedure is barbaric and that the established treatment for gender dysphoria is not gender reassignment surgery but rather some type of counseling and/or mental health treatment. We must also consider how to address the members of the medical community who find gender reassignment surgery objectionable based on their Hippocratic Oath and/or religious beliefs.
I have already posted my thoughts on the bill on my blog so I do not want to reiterate them again.

Upon hearing about the bill the coalition discussed our strategy to block the bill. We knew that there wasn’t enough votes to pass the bill out of committee but we also knew we had to put up a defense against the bill. We settled on having healthcare providers, a lawyer, and members of the trans community speak against the bill.

During the hearing there was no one who spoke in favor of the bill and we were joined by two other people who spoke against the bill, a LCSW who works with trans clients and a retired RN whose son is trans. [There were a number of people who submitted written testimony opposing the bill.] When the committee got to the bill, the bill sponsor got up and left the room.

The JF Deadline* came and went with no vote on the bill so it died in committee but we had to be vigilant to make sure it wasn’t added as an amendment later on in the session.
The date by which each committee must report out bills or resolutions for further consideration by other committees or the full General Assembly. The committee deadlines are listed in the Joint Rules and all reports must be submitted to the Legislative Commissioners' Office by 5:00 p.m. on the dates listed.


GLAD has a birth certificate tool kit to help you with the paperwork.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

PA 15-132 An Act Concerning Birth Certificates (Part 1 of 6 – The Beginning)

Today the law to change your birth certificate without needing to have surgery went into effect. CTAC was one of the organizations that lead the effort to pass the law. Here is the history of how the coalition came together to pass the law.

Reprinted from Diana’s Little Corner of the Nutmeg State by permission.

Diana is the Executive Director of CTAC

For the next six days I will be writing about the history of bill H.B.7006 An Act Concerning Birth Certificates.

For me it all started at Frist Event in Massachusetts in 2014, I was talking to Mara Keisling, the Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality and the topic of birth certificates came up. We both agreed that it was worth a try in Connecticut and she said that if we decided to propose the legislation contact NCTE and they could help.

In August I posted something about needing to change the birth certificates law in Connecticut on my Facebook page and Robin from True Colors thought it was a good idea. We exchanged emails and I met with her intern in early September to hash out our thoughts. At our next meeting we contacted NCTE and talked about getting started on the bill, it was decided to bring in other organizations into the discussion.

So late in September I contacted many of the core organizations that worked on the anti-discrimination legislation back in 2011. It seems like everyone had the same idea, it was time for the legislation.

We then had our first meeting at the lobbyist office in November and at the meeting we had people from True Colors, GLAD, ACLU, Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF), Equality Federation, and I represented CTAC and on the phone were Planned Parenthood and NCTE.

At the meeting we discussed various strategies to chance the law on birth certificate; the three options that we discussed were to make the change by regulation, add an amendment to an existing bill, or have a stand along bill. Each option had its own drawbacks; the regulation was the easiest but also the easiest to change back by another governor, an amendment would also be risky because it could be dropped from a bill as easy as it can be added to a bill and the last option was to pass a new law and that would be the hardest to do.

We also discussed how to make sure that death certificates reflect the proper gender.

At the next meeting in December we were joined by a professor from Quinnipiac University School of Law who is on the Board of Directors at CWEALF. At the meeting the lawyer from GLAD provided a rough draft of the proposed law and NCTE provided a draft of the talking point for the bill. Also the lawyers from GLAD and NCTE discussed if any changes were need for making sure that the death certificates listed the correct gender and the consensus was that the death certificate should track the birth certificate. Therefore no changes need to be made.

In addition, the governor’s office was in favor of the bill. The Department of Public Health had some concerns but eventually went along with the proposed changes to the bill.

Now all we had to do was wait for the session to begin.


GLAD has a birth certificate tool kit to help you with the paperwork.