New Transgender Rights Case in Illinois

In a lawsuit we filed yesterday in Illinois, two transgender women asked the Cook County Circuit Court to order the state to issue them new birth certificates that reflect their appropriate gender following gender confirmation surgery (sometimes called sex reassignment surgery). The Illinois Department of Vital Records has refused to change the gender marker on their birth certificates because their reassignment surgery was performed outside the United States. Illinois is the only state to bar the option to change one’s gender on their birth certificate if the gender confirmation surgery is not performed by a United States-licensed physician. After carefully weighing their medical options, Victoria Kirk and Karissa Rothkopf, the two plaintiffs in today’s suit, both decided it was best to have their gender confirmation surgery in Thailand. “After making the difficult decision – with the advice and support of my physician and a therapist – to have surgery to conform to this identity, it was disheartening to learn that the state of Illinois would not issue a new birth certificate that recognizes me as a woman simply because I elected to have surgery overseas,” Karissa said. Kirk v. Arnold argues a birth certificate is a fundamental document for any individual, and it is critical that it accurately reflects one’s gender. Denying these women the ability to secure an accurate birth certificate is in opposition to the advice of medical experts who recommend that persons who transition their gender identity ensure that all aspects of their lives reflect that gender identity. “There’s this piece of paper that is wrong, it says I’m someone I’m not,” said Victoria. In addition, refusing to provide an accurate birth certificate poses everyday challenges that are unnecessary and dangerous. Having a corrected gender marker is important when a birth certificate is required to start a new job, get a driver’s license, enter a federal building or board an airplane. To learn more about this case, watch our video of Karissa Rothkopf and Victoria Kirk explaining how this legislation has impacted their lives and their gender confirmation surgery.

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liberal hater

Please tell me this is a joke. This is an embarrassment.

These people are freaks. Hey, your either born a man or a woman. Do you left-wing liberals have no shame?

Stacey Gray

Thank you ladies! Your coursge goes in honor of all of us who preceeded you, and those of us who follow. On behalf of all u other Ts, Thank you!


It states above that Ms. Rothkopf is from Wisconsin. Based on Wisconsin's own documentation they are one of only 6 states that are in the process of adopting the real ID Act.

I would guess a Birth Certificate without the gender matching what she "is" now could probably reverse the identification she already switched.

Info from Wisconsin's Wis Bar Summary:
Six states, including Wisconsin, had affirmatively enacted legislation that in some form adopts REAL ID standards20 There also have been federal legislative efforts to significantly modify or repeal the REAL ID Act21 "REAL ID's enactment was roughly analogous to the federal government shoving its figurative hand deep into a hornet's nest. Few federal acts in recent memory have elicited such strong state reaction."

To begin implementing REAL ID, the Wisconsin Legislature last session incorporated into state law a "legal presence" requirement for issuance of driver's licenses and identification cards12 This session, the 2007 Executive Budget Bill (S.B. 40), which became 2007 Wisconsin Act 20, included numerous provisions to conform state law to the requirements of the REAL ID Act. Because these statutory provisions closely track the federal requirements discussed above, they are not discussed in detail here13 However, some of the necessary changes to Wisconsin law include eliminating the exception allowing issuance of a driver's license without a photograph based on seriously held religious convictions, denying driver's licenses and identification cards to persons who are eligible for an SSN but do not have one, and expanding driver record information available to other states to include electronic access to photographs, signatures, and SSNs. Nonetheless, most of the Act 20 provisions incorporating REAL ID standards into state law are subject to a very unusual effective-date provision and have not yet become effective.

It looks like Ms. Rothkopf has a bigger problem on her hands


If you're born a woman, you're a woman. You'll never really change.



liberal hater...Nice to see you still hating everything you don't understand. I will make an assumption that you are a good Christian and ask that you walk a mile before making up your mind.


To AYM68 and "liberal hater":

Just one question for you. Have you ever researched the topic? Here is some food for thought:

Now that is out of the way, you two are the reason that people like me have to go to extreme measures to protect ourselves. You have no concept of what happens outside of your own little world. What would you say if your son, daughter, mother or father told you that their mind doesn't match their body? Burn them as heretics and witches? You make me sick.



That's disgusting- but I'm sure, after having this kind of thing in my own transgendered face for so long, you'll be pretending to be a liberal pretending to be a rightie whacko.

Aym it somewhere else, and take your trigger happy friends over there with you.

Rika Nova

I was born in Illinois also, and I checked with their Dept. of vital records while I was in the process of choosing a clinic and got the the same response - that my surgery had to be done by a doctor certified to practice in the United States. There was no reason given why this should be. When I checked with the FAA about changing my gender marker on my pilot's license, they did not tell me where I could or could not get this surgery done. It's just Illinois. Discretionary rules and policies still need to be legally articulable and constrained within the the bill of rights otherwise it's not discretion, but simply the will and wish of arbitrary governing. I believe that the Illinois law is a remnant of the days when this surgery was done "on demand". But since the treatment protocols or "standards of care" were established in the 1970's a "letter" from your endocrinologist and therapist recommending surgery and verification from a certified surgeon, no matter where his or her practice may be located should be good enough for the state of Illinois, especially when you consider that we pay tens of thousands of dollars of our own money as there are no restrictions from an insurance provider. Why Illinois insists on being the oddball state? If anybody knows, please share.

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