Oregon Senate votes to make transgender life easier

On Wednesday the Oregon Senate voted 23-6 to pass HB 2673, which removes barriers to transgender people obtaining state official documents in keeping with our gender identity.

The bill now moves on to Gov. Kate Brown's desk.

It’s been a passion of mine to treat all people the way they feel they need to be treated. It’s not mine to make that decision for them. And so this bill is one of those things that starts allowing people to make some of those choices in our state.

--Sen. Arnie Roblan (D-Coos Bay)

The current process to change gender identity on government documents involves a court hearing and posting a notice in a public place. Supporters of the bill say the new process will be less intimidating. They say having accurate documents helps transgender people get a job, housing or access medical care.

Many transgender Oregonians fear being publicly outed by having sensitive medical and personal information disclosed in open court and name changes posted on a public bulletin board.

Nancy Haque, Basic Rights Oregon (which requested the bill)

The only senator to speak against the bill was Dennis Linthicum (R-Klammath Falls), who said that amending a birth certificate was "changing history" and reminded him of George Orwell's 1984.

The bill is the first ever standalone bill concerning the transgender community.

It makes me feel that people are finally starting to get it and that people are advocating for the trans community and I think that's been a long time coming. And I'm really happy to see it.

--Dade Barlow, Jackson County

Nationally only 1 in 10 transgender people has accurate identification documents.

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