The MT Department of Health and Human Services just made it impossible for transgender Montanans to change the sex marker on their birth certificate.
They made this change with no public input.
HOW’D WE GET HERE?
In 2021, the Montana legislature passed SB280, a bill that required transgender Montanans to present proof of a gender affirming surgery in court in order to change the sex designation on their birth certificate. This bill unnecessarily changed a rule from 2017 that was more accessible and less invasive.
Last month, the court placed a preliminary injunction on SB280, which means that law could not be enforced. Rather than reverting to the 2017 rule, DPHHS is now denying transgender Montanans the ability to update their birth certificates at all. This decision defies court orders, bypasses public input, and directly targets a marginalized group of Montanans who simply want to live their lives as themselves without fear of harm.
So what can you do about it?
- Write an email to Adam Meier, Director of DPHHS, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell him to repeal this emergency rule, abide by the court’s decision, and allow transgender people to update their birth certificates.
- Tell all your cisgender friends to show TF up. Issues like this— laws and rules that target a small, marginalized segment of the population— often fly under the radar because folks don’t feel directly impacted by them. At its heart, though, this is about privacy, autonomy, and governmental checks and balances, which affect all Montanans. We cannot leave trans people to fight this battle alone.
- Take care of the trans people in your life. Numerous studies have shown that news like this takes a toll on the mental health of transgender folks, especially youth. Check in with the trans people you love. Remind them that their lives, joy, and rights matter to you, and that you will fight for them (and then do just that!).
To transgender people in and from Montana: We are with you. We wish we didn’t live under a system that can take away our rights so quickly and senselessly, and we will not stop fighting for a world where you can live free of harm. If you’d like to be in community with other trans folks right now, we invite you to join us virtually on Tuesday, May 31 from 6-7PM to share space, talk about (or not talk about) this ruling, and celebrate each other. You can RSVP at the link below: