”Illinois is updating its birth certificate system to affirm transgender parents, after a trans masculine person who gave birth asked to be officially recognised as the dad of their child.
A trans couple made the request to the Illinois Department of Public Health after learning that the person who gave birth is automatically named as the “Mother/Co-parent” on a child’s birth certificate.
Myles Brady-Davis, a trans masc person who uses they/them pronouns, gave birth to their daughter, Zayn, in December. Their partner is Precious Brady-Davis, a trans woman who is Zayn’s mother.
Myles works at Equality Illinois, the state’s largest LGBT+ civil rights organisation, while Precious works at environmental organisation The Sierra Club.
Being named as the mother on the birth certificate would out Myles as trans every time their daughter did something that required ID, because a birth certificate is usually the primary form of identification until a child gets a driving license as a teenager, so the couple worked with LGBT+ non-profit organisation Lambda Legal to try to change this.
“This is a document that any young person uses to enrol in school, join a little league team or maybe start treatment with a new doctor, and Myles and Precious should have the control to decide if, when and how they wish to disclose their trans identity,” said Kara Ingelhar, a Lambda Legal attorney.
Melaney Arnold, spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Public Health, said that Myles and Precious were the first trans parents to bring the issue to the state.
The system is now being updated, Arnold said, to allow for a father to be listed as a birth parent. Ingelhar made it clear that this was a safety issue for Myles, citing a National Center for Transgender Equality survey from 2015 that showed nearly a third of trans people have been harassed, denied benefits or services, discriminated against or assaulted when they showed an identity document bearing a name they don’t use or an incorrect gender.
“I know that I’m not the first trans masculine person in the state to go through this process, and I definitely won’t be the last,” Myles Brady-Davis said.
“We’re just glad we’re making it easier for the next person.”
Elsewhere in the world, like in the UK, trans men, trans masculine or non-binary people who give birth cannot be named as the dad on birth certificates and remain listed as the mother or co-parent.”