Colorado House Bill 19-1039 Jude’s Law Goes Into Effect

Denver, CO — Starting tomorrow, transgender and nonbinary Coloradans will have an easier way to update their name and gender on Colorado-issued identity documents. One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Coloradans and their families, released the following statements from Executive Director, Daniel Ramos:

“In 2015, the initial version of this legislation – the Birth Certificate Modernization Act – was the first transgender-specific legislation to be introduced in Colorado. Four years later, Colorado is now a leader, being one of the first states in the country to have nonbinary gender options and self-attestation for gender on a suite of identity documents, including birth certificates, driver’s licenses, and state identification cards. This progress wouldn’t be possible without folks like Jude sharing their stories.” 

“This was a historic session for LGBTQ Coloradans and their families. With legislation that impacts LGBTQ youth, transgender, and nonbinary Coloradans, One Colorado championed bills for some of the most vulnerable individuals in our community to improve their everyday lives. The strong bipartisan support of this bill further demonstrates that LGBTQ equality is a nonpartisan issue, and we applaud the Republicans who stood with our community. While this is a huge step forward for transgender rights, there is still much work to do.”

Sponsored by the 2019 LGBT Caucus co-chairs Representative Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, and Senator Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City, Jude’s Law will cut through the red tape for transgender and nonbinary Coloradans as they try to update the gender specified on their birth certificates to match who they are. Coloradans will be able to update their gender on their birth certificate to M, F, or X — without surgery, a doctor’s note, or court order. This bill removes both the surgery requirement and court order requirement, allowing transgender and nonbinary people the ability to self-identify on their identification documents. The bill removes the publication requirement for a name change in order to reflect one’s gender identity. A new birth certificate will be issued instead of an amended birth certificate when updating gender. Colorado is the third state in the country (including California and Oregon) to have nonbinary gender options for both driver’s licenses and birth certificates.

“This bill was about personal freedom,” said Representative Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, former co-chair of the Colorado LGBT Caucus and House Prime Sponsor. “Not having updated identity documents interferes with the ability of transgender Coloradans to live their lives openly and honestly and to be their authentic selves. Jude has testified at the capitol in support of this legislation for years now. We have watched her grow up in front of our eyes. She has been simply asking this legislature to give her the ability to live her most genuine life,” Rep. Esgar concluded.

Senate Prime Sponsor and former co-chair of the Colorado LGBT Caucus Senator Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City, provided the following remarks: “For too long, transgender Coloradans have faced discriminatory red tape that makes it unnecessarily challenging to live openly as their true selves. I am proud that today we passed Jude’s Law, my bill to make it easier for transgender Coloradans to update identity documents without having to undergo surgery or appear in court. This new policy will help Colorado move toward a future where everyone has equal rights and an equal opportunity to be themselves.”

The bill was officially named Jude’s Law on February 15th, 2019 to honor the 13-year-old transgender student, Jude, who has testified in support of an iteration of a birth certificate modernization act over the last five sessions.

Jude (last name held to protect the family’s identity), the namesake of HB19-1039 Jude’s Law, stated, “It may have taken us five years to get this bill passed, but every long drive to get to the capitol, every ‘no’ vote, and every senator that would not look us in the eyes – have all been worth it because today we have all changed the lives of transgender Coloradans. When I walk into the doctor’s office and can get called by the right name and the right gender that actually matches who I am, I don’t have to be afraid of being outed in front of others.”

Bill Background
On February 15th, the Colorado House passed House Bill 19-1039 on a bipartisan 41-22 vote. Representatives Colin Larson, R-Littleton, and Hugh McKean, R-Loveland, were the two Republican votes in support of the bill. On April 17th, the Colorado Senate passed House Bill 19-1039 on a bipartisan 23-12 vote. Senators Don Coram, R-Montrose, Kevin Priola, R- Henderson, Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, and Jim Smallwood, R-Parker, were the Republican votes in support of the bill. The Colorado House concurred the bill on April 22nd. The country’s first openly gay elected governor, Governor Jared Polis, signed the bill into law to kick off Pride Month on May 31st, 2019. 

An iteration of a transgender birth certification modernization act has been introduced in Colorado each session since 2015. In previous sessions, the Republican leadership in the Senate would send this legislation to the kill committee, prohibiting members from the opportunity to vote on the bill.

Updating Birth Certificates
New birth certificates can be issued to anyone who has a Colorado birth certificate. Additionally, if your state allows for the alteration of your birth certificate, Colorado is able to provide the court order for the change.

For individuals 18 and older:

  1. A completed Sex Designation Form.
    2. A written request to Colorado Vital Records to have your gender designation on your birth certificate changed (note: the request can also be submitted by a guardian or legal representative.)
    3. A statement to Colorado Vital Records indicating that your original birth certificate does not align with your gender identity. Once these documents are submitted and the court processes them, you are issued a new birth certificate, as well as a court order which says the birth certificate has been changed

For individuals under the age of 18:
1. A completed Sex Designation Form
2. A written request submitted by your parent  to Colorado Vital Records to have your gender designation on your birth certificate changed (note: the request can also be submitted by a guardian or legal representative).
3. A statement to Colorado Vital Records from a medical or mental health provider indicating that your original birth certificate does not align with your gender identity. Note: the state registrar must be authorized to verify this information with your provider. You can find a template for the statement here.
4. Once these documents are submitted and the court processes them, you are issued a new birth certificate, as well as a court order which says the birth certificate has been changed.

Completed materials can be mailed to this address:
Vital Records
Birth Unit
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Denver, Colorado 80246

Phone: 303-692-2226
Email: cdphe_birthcertificates@state.co.us
For a list of local vital records offices in Colorado, visit here. 

Updating State Identity Documents
Any resident of Colorado is eligible to change their Colorado State ID, which includes Coloradans who are “not lawfully present,” which is simply a legal term related to the type of ID that those without citizenship documentation can receive.

For individuals 18 and over:
1. A statement to your DMV confirming that your original driver’s license does not align with your gender identity.
2. Submit your new birth certificate. 

For individuals under 18:
1. A statement from your parent or legal guardian to your DMV confirming that your original driver’s license does not align with your gender identity.
2. A statement from a medical or mental health provider stating that you’ve “had treatment for gender transition” (surgical, hormonal, or other), and that their professional opinion is that the birth certificate should be changed. You can find a template for the statement here.
3. Submit your new birth certificate. 

New identity documents must be obtained in person with your completed materials at your local DMV.
For a list of local DMV’s, visit here

For more information, please visit One Colorado’s website at www.one-colorado.org. A direct link to additional resources for identity documents and birth certificates can be found here. December 31

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