Florida Judge rules state must change transgender teen's gender marker

Leon (FL) Circuit Court Judge Karen Grievers has ordered the Florida Department of Health to change the gender marker on the birth certificate of a 15-year-old Ft. Lauderdale transgender boy.

A judge in Broward County (Renee Goldenberg) had issued the same order last year, but health administrators asked Gievers to affirm that the agency has the authority to make such a change.

The department routinely makes the change for adults who have transitioned from one sex to the other but says it asked for guidance from the judge because the applicant is a minor and has not undergone reassignment surgery.

This is unprecedented in Florida as we have not had a case like this involving a child. The department is always cautious in decisions involving children when the law is not clear, which is why DOH asked the court for guidance. Pursuant to the court’s order, we will issue the amended birth certificate.

--statement issued by the Department

The child's parents had asked for the change.

The family’s lawyer, John B. “Jay” Rosenquest IV, said they were delighted that they would not have to appeal the case further.

But they are especially pleased for other families with transgender children that the Department of Health has accepted the rulings of two courts and the law is now clear in Florida that the [DOH} has the full authority to amend the gender marker on a transgender minor’s birth certificate without first requiring irreversible sexual reassignment surgery, when it is in the best interest of the child.

--Rosenquest

Rosenquest said he was aware of at least one other child who had received a court order to amend a gender marker — an order the DOH also had declined to honor. In that case, the family chose not to “push back.”

Rosenquest said he was aware of at least one other child who had received a court order to amend a gender marker — an order the DOH also had declined to honor. In that case, the family chose not to “push back.”

What makes this case unprecedented is that the state actively sought to avoid complying with the court order, first by unsuccessfully seeking to vacate it in the Broward court, and then by filing the declaratory judgment case in Leon County that Judge Gievers dismissed this week.

--Rosenquest

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