Last week, Texas began giving trans people the option of sealing their old birth certificates and issuing new ones, according to Dallas attorney Katie Sprinkle.
Previously, Texas issued amended certificates and those were only issued with a surgeon’s letter. Now, Texas is sealing old records and issuing new birth certificates with a court order. That makes getting accurate documents earlier in the transition process possible.
The change is part of the Texas marriage equality ruling. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ordered Attorney General Ken Paxton and the Texas Bureau of Vital Statistics to issue corrected death certificates for same-sex couples acknowledging their relationship as “spouse” rather than significant other.” That affected inheritance.
As part of that motion filed by a Conroe, Texas gay man, Garcia asked the attorney if Texas was treating LGBT people differently than straight people on other documents. The attorney said birth certificates needed to be addressed.
As part of its update of birth certificates reflecting both adoptive parents or parents who used a surrogate, Texas updated its policy on reissuing birth certificates to trans men and women.
Since a court order can be used to prove a couple are both the parents of a child and should both be on a birth certificate, a court order will suffice for a trans person to use to get a new birth certificate reissued.
And since the original birth certificate in an adoption is sealed, the original birth certificate for a trans person will also be sealed.
To get the original birth certificate unsealed will take another court order, Sprinkle said.
She said trans parents need to update their children’s birth certificates to get the parents’ names correct. Since Texas updated its rules, parents can be listed as mother and father or parent 1 and parent 2.
Sprinkle said she’s seen vital statistics take four to six weeks to issue new birth certificates, but because of demand, that time may be even longer.