Thursday, August 10, 2023

Christopher Vasquez | NCLR Director of Communications
415.365.1337 | cvasquez@nclrights.org

TUCSON, AZ – Today, a federal district court in Tucson granted the plaintiffs’ request to certify a class action in a case challenging Arizona’s outdated requirement that transgender people must have surgery to change the gender marker on their birth certificates.  This ruling means that this case will now benefit all transgender people born in Arizona, not just the individual plaintiffs who originally brought the case.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), along with co-counsel Cooley LLP and Osborn Maledon, P.A., initially filed the case on behalf of three transgender individuals who sought to correct their birth certificates.

When transgender people can’t correct the gender marker on their birth certificates, they may encounter practical problems and harms. Any time they need to produce a birth certificate, they are forced to disclose their transgender status, which is private information that a person should be free to share or not. Additionally, being forcibly “outed” puts individuals at risk of discrimination, harassment, and violence. Arizona’s outdated surgery requirement is particularly harmful for transgender youth who are effectively barred from correcting the gender marker on their birth certificates because very few transgender young people undergo any surgical treatment. For young people, their birth certificate affects everything from school records to camp registration.  

The lawsuit alleges that Arizona’s surgical requirement violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“The stories of our clients are just a small representation of the thousands of individuals born in Arizona who are unable to amend their birth certificates to reflect who they are,” said Rachel Berg, NCLR Staff Attorney. “We are thrilled that this case will now apply to all transgender individuals born in Arizona who wish to amend their birth certificates to accurately reflect their gender identity. Access to correct identity documents is critically important to the health and well-being of transgender people.”

“We are pleased that the court has certified this case as a class action. With this ruling, all transgender people born in Arizona seeking to amend the gender marker on their birth certificate will now be eligible for relief from the state’s discriminatory and unconstitutional law,” said Barrett Anderson, Attorney for Cooley LLP.


The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. Since its founding, NCLR has maintained a longstanding commitment to racial and economic justice and the LGBTQ community’s most vulnerable. www.nclrights.org

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