Vt. Takes Lead On Transgender Issues

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(Host) The transgender community in Vermont is hailing two laws quietly passed by the state legislature this year. One allows the gender label on Vermont birth certificates to be changed and for a new document to be produced.

Previously, the crossed-out gender would be visible on the amended document, effectively "outing" transgendered people when they had to show the document for employment or other purposes.

Kelly Riel, who founded the group Vermonters Ending Transgender Oppression, says another part of that law is especially significant: Vermont becomes the first state in the nation that allows people who have not had gender reassignment surgery, but who identify with a different gender, to make the change.

(Riel) "Being able to have a birth certificate that reflects your gender identity and your gender expression without being forced to modify your body in ways you may not want to want to – or in ways that you can’t afford – is an incredibly large jump into being more open and inclusive for trans people."

(Host) Another law change heralded by transgender activists requires single-stall bathrooms in state buildings to be gender neutral.

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