September 16, 2020
Illinois has recently revised its birth certificate system. According to the Chicago Sun-Times reports, the system recognizes the gender identities of trans parents. Myles and Precious Brady-Davis were the first trans couple to experience the system updates.
The trans couple shared their experience.
Myles and Precious met in 2014. Myles is a communications manager for the Sierra Club. The couple started dating. In about two years they got married. The couple wanted to have biological children. But for that, they had to go off their gender reinforcing hormones. This was difficult for both of them. The couple went through a medical process. It involved collecting Myles egg and fertilize it with Precious sperm. The fertilized egg is then planted into Myles’ uterus. There are a few thousand transgender men who have gotten pregnant. And Myles is one of them.
The trans couple welcomed their first child in December. And they named her Zayn YeMaya Echelle Brady-Davis. Davis is a transmasculine man. He carried the child to full term. However, 20 weeks into the pregnancy, the couple learned that they would be listed as “Mother/Co-Parent” on the child’s birth certificate. Moreover, the wife Precious would automatically be labeled as the father. Since she is a trans woman.
They never thought that the birth certificate would misgender them in such a manner.
Brady Davis is the Director of Communications at the LGBTQ+ advocacy organization Equality Illinois. When he heard of this frustrating and transphobic news, he knew he would not accept this without a fight. The couple decided to seek the support of Lambda Legal. Lambda Legal funded by the community. It is a non-profit organization that provides pro bono representation to LGBTQ+ individuals in need.
Therefore, on behalf of Brady Davis, the organization sent the state a letter. The letter questioned why the child should have a birth certificate that reflects its parent’s gender identity. Moreover, Precious thought that the birth certificate would not only recognize genders but also protect the couples from potential harassment.
The state finally agrees.
In a press release, Lambda Legal voiced out the sentiments of the couple further specifying the US transgender survey. According to the survey, nearly a third of the respondents had reported harassment, discrimination, and denial of services. Moreover, they also reported assaults after presenting an identity document that conflicted with their perceived gender.
The state finally agreed that Davis and Precious should not be misgendered on their child’s birth certificate. The couple received the good news two weeks after the child was born. According to the certificate, Davis would be listed as the father and Precious would be the mother. Even though the couple won this fight the state is still working to make the accurate gender identification a permanent option. So as to make it available to all transgender parents.
Myles explained how they felt so relieved after hearing the news. It was heartbreaking for the couple to go through nine months of pregnancy. They also had to go through two years of Vitro fertilization.
A misgendered certificate can cause issues later on.
According to Lambda Legal staff attorney Kara Ingelhart, a misgendered certificate can threaten a transgender’s safety. Generally, childhood involves many activities which require to show proof of identity. Also during the time of preschool enrollment or baseball registration, birth certificates can out the parents as transgender. This could potentially expose them to discrimination and violence. Or even expose them to hostility.
Transgender couples do not have a choice as to when or how they want to disclose their identity. They are allowed to have control over their private medical and personal information. Which the birth certificate denies them off.
Not everyone who gives birth is female.
Myles is the first transmasculine parent to land on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s radar. But he is by no means the first couple to experience hurdles during prenatal and parental care. Some of the issues trans couples face are insurance issues or discriminatory physicians. Another main issue is the lack of information. Many trans couples are unaware of the process of birthing children.
In the eyes of the American medical system, men and non-binary folks who give birth do not exist. Everyone who gives birth in the country is labeled a woman in the medical records. But in recent times not only women can give birth. People like Myles Davis prove as much. Moreover, other countries have moved away from labeling anyone who gives birth as “female”. For instance, trans men in Australia have given birth to over fifty babies.
The trans couple is proud that they were the first ones to bring this to the state’s attention. And they are extremely proud of it. They can’t wait t tell their daughter the story of how they got her birth certificate.