Metro Weekly

Judge: Florida must change gender on transgender teen’s birth certificate

State health administrators must allow transgender youth to change their gender markers on their vital documents

A courtroom in the U.S. Courthouse in Tallahassee, Fla. - Photo: Carol M. Highsmith, via Wikimedia.

A courtroom in the U.S. Courthouse in Tallahassee, Fla. – Photo: Carol M. Highsmith, via Wikimedia.

A Florida judge has ordered the Florida Department of Health to amend the birth certificate of a transgender male teen to reflect his proper gender identity, reports the Miami Herald. In response, the state has decided to comply with the judge’s request rather than appeal the decision.

In her decision, Leon Circuit Judge Karen Gievers ruled that the Department of Health should change the gender on the birth certificate for the 15-year-old Broward County teen at the center of the case from “female” to “male.” But she extended that same right to all Florida transgender youth who wish to change the gender marker on their birth certificates. Health administrators in Florida had stopped making gender-marker changes for minors a few years ago.

Gievers’ order upheld another ruling finding in favor of the teen, whose identity was ordered to remain confidential. Following a ruling by Broward Circuit Judge Renee Goldenberg, Florida state officials filed a “declaratory judgment petition” to determine whether the health department had the legal authority to amend the birth certificate. Gievers found that the state had the authority to do so, and was obligated to follow through on it.

The Department of Health had initially balked at amending the birth certificate because the teenager had not yet undergone gender confirmation surgery, but his parents requested the change.

“This is unprecedented in Florida as we have not had a case like this involving a child,” the department said in a press release. “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.”

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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