Illinois is updating its birth certificate system to affirm the gender identities of transgender parents, after a transmasculine person asked to be officially recognized as a father who gave birth to their daughter.
Myles and Precious Brady-Davis of Chicago learned after their daughter, Zayn, arrived in December that the Illinois Department of Public Health automatically names the parent who gives birth as “Mother/Co-Parent" on a birth certificate.
Myles Brady-Davis is transmasculine, which describes a person who was born female but is typically masculine in gender expression. Transmasculine people do not always identify as male. Myles, who uses they/them pronouns, carried and gave birth to Zayn and wants to be listed as her father, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Precious Brady-Davis is a transgender woman and the baby's mother.
“Growing up, I always wanted to be a dad, so now that I’m a father, it means a lot to me that my child’s identifying document states that,” Myles Brady-Davis said.
The couple enlisted the help of the LGBTQ nonprofit Lambda Legal to approach the agency to effect change. Melaney Arnold, a spokeswoman for the Public Health Department, said they were the first transgender parents to bring the issue to the state.
Arnold said the department is still updating its system to allow for a father to be listed as the birth parent. No timeline for the changes was provided.
A birth certificate is usually a person’s primary form of ID until they receive a driver’s license as a teenager, so Myles Brady-Davis would be “outed” as transgender any time the document was used for their daughter, Ingelhar said.
“This is a document that any young person uses to enroll 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,” according to Kara Ingelhar, a Lambda Legal attorney.
The distinction is a matter of safety, Ingelhar said.
The National Center for Transgender Equality found in a 2015 survey that nearly a third of transgender people said they have been harassed, denied benefits or services, discriminated against or assaulted when they showed an identity document with an incorrect name or gender marker.
“I know that I’m not the first transmasculine 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.”