We’re tremendously excited to announce that today, the Deoni Jones Birth Certificate Amendment Act went into effect in DC. What does that mean for you? There is now a faster, cheaper, and more confidential process in place for you to change your name and for those born in DC to get a new birth certificate with the correct name and gender marker.
Our friends at the National Center for Transgender Equality summed up the changes nicely:
As of today individuals can request updated birth certificates directly from the DC Department of Health Vital Records Division. To request a new birth certificate, an applicant must submit a signed gender designation request form along with a form signed by their healthcare provider stating that the applicant has had treatment appropriate for that individual for gender transition. The Department of Health will issue a new birth certificate with the designated gender and updated name if applicable.
Along with birth certificate changes, the new law made much-needed updates to the legal name change process in DC. Applicants no longer have to publish their name change in the newspaper, an outdated and expensive process that was particularly burdensome for the transgender community. In order to get a legal name change, applicants go to the DC Superior Court and submit a petition for name change, notify creditors and other interested parties directly of the upcoming legal name change, and then return to the court for the judge to grant their name change. The name change order can then be used to update the name on a birth certificate, passport, social security card, driver’s license or state ID, or other document.
You can find helpful folks able to help you through the process for name change, gender marker change, or both, at TransLAW, Whitman Walker Health Legal Services, or Casa Ruby.
A big thanks to all the activists, lawmakers, and DC officials who helped make this a reality!
Last week, newly-elected Mayor Gray’s Director of the Office of GLBT Affairs, Jeffrey Richardson, attended a DC Trans Coalition meeting. Members of DCTC educated the Director about the needs of trans communities in the District, and we were assured that trans people (along with youth and aging LGBT people) would be among the administration’s top concerns.
For the occasion, DCTC prepared a list of priorities for the Gray Administration, and shared this with the Director. We broke it down by agency and listed the most pressing and achievable goals for each. Among our list were:
- End the Prostitution Free Zones and move toward decriminalizing sex work;
- Nominate one or more trans people to serve on the Commission on Human Rights;
- Enforce the gender-neutral bathroom provisions of the DC Human Rights Act;
- Restore funding to vital trans-sensitive social services like HIPS and T.H.E.;
- Develop plans to address unemployment in the trans community;
- Expand the Dept. of Corrections and MPD trans policies to include other criminal justice agencies in the District;
- Fund the DC Trans Needs Assessment
..and much more. You can read the comprehensive list here.
We recently discovered that the Mayor’s office released a report claiming to be about the health of the “GLBT community”, while failing to include trans people at all. Despite recognizing other differences such as race, age, ward and income, there is no data that breaks down the statistics by gender identity. Like the Mayor’s hate crimes report earlier this year, the report claims to include trans people but entirely ignores gay, lesbian and bisexual-identified trans folks, as well as trans people who are straight.
The continued invisiblization of our communities contributes to the widespread ignorance about trans people. Additionally, the lack of knowledge fuels existing health disparities revealed in other studies. If the city government is actually concerned about public health, it must prioritize the health needs of underserved trans communities in the District. In our letter to the Mayor (and copied to the Dept. of Health and the City Council), we state our belief that the government should firmly commit to including trans communities and allocate grant funding to help make a new trans needs assessment possible.
UPDATE: Check out this article over on MetroWeekly: “Missing Persons Report: Mayor’s Office of GLBT Affairs release first health report on gay residents, omits trans people.” We have been in touch with the Mayor’s office and the City Council. We will be submitting recommendations to improve data collection, but we have yet to hear a solid promise from the Mayor’s office that this will included in future surveys. See below for our full press release.
MORE UPDATES: Also follow the story at DCist and the CityPaper or click here to listen to the local NPR radio broadcast about the report.
Original article posted by Amanda Hess here: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist/2010/07/01/dcs-transgender-community-suffers-from-lack-of-hiv-statistics/
After this week’s post on the state of HIV in D.C., a commenter asked for some current statistics on the HIV/AIDS rate in the District’s transgender population. Good luck. D.C.’s Department of Health doesn’t track cases based on gender identity in its annual report on the epidemic [PDF], though it does compile numbers on race, gender, Ward, and mode of transmission (ex. men who have sex with men). The CDC also fails to address gender identity [PDF] in its reports.
That’s a problem, especially considering that the latest local data available—the DOH-funded 2000 Transgender Needs Assessment Survey—reveals staggering infection rates among trans women. Here’s a rundown of that survey’s findings:
The decade-old report surveyed 252 District transgender men and women on a variety of factors, including their HIV status. Of locals surveyed, 32 percent of trans women reported being HIV-positive, compared to 3 percent of trans men. (Twenty-two percent of those surveyed were unaware of their status).
More info on how HIV affects the community: Eighty-one percent of the HIV-positive trans men and women surveyed were black. And two-thirds of HIV-positive trans citizens “believe they became infected through unprotected sex with men.” A “history of sexual assault, a history of sex work, and unemployment” also contributed to HIV rates in the community.
Also a contributing factor? The lack of public education and concern on how the epidemic affects the trans community. In 2008, Darby Hickey wrote of the invisibility of transgender people in the HIV conversation: “The communities hit hardest are African-American men and women, Lations, and gay and bisexual men of all races. Within these carefully drawn categories, some based on behavioral risk factor and others on racial, gender and sexual classifications, one community heavily affected by the epidemic remains invisible in the eyes of officialdom a quarter century since the first reports of the disease: transgender people.”
The failure of mainstream studies to single out trans men and women in its numbers compounds the problem of getting testing, prevention, and treatment resources to that community. “There are no official reports because most agencies do not recognize trans people’s existence at all,” says Sadie-Ryanne Baker of the DC Trans Coalition. “They usually fold trans women in the ‘men who have sex w/ men’ category (even ones like me who sleep with women!) which means we have no independent numbers to analyze for trans folks. It also means that most trans folks don’t even get tested or get safe sex supplies because all the forms force them to lie about their identity.”