LANSING — State Rep. Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids) introduced House Bill 4720 this week to make it easier for Michigan residents to correct the sex designation assigned at birth on their birth certificates. Hood’s bill would eliminate the current cumbersome requirements of undergoing gender reassignment surgery and obtaining an affidavit from their physician certifying the completion of the procedure before a corrected birth certificate is issued.

“Birth certificates act as a vital record to establish proof of U.S. citizenship and provides legal identity. It is required for Social Security, Medicaid, school enrollment, driver’s license, social services such as a marriage license and more,” said Hood. “For too long, we’ve forced Michiganders to overcome incredible hurdles to make these corrections, denying our neighbors equal access to the many rights available to others. This is our chance to make it right.”

According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey from the National Center for Transgender Equality, 81 percent of respondents from Michigan reported that none of their identity documents had their preferred name or gender. The survey also found that 33 percent of respondents had been verbally harassed, denied benefits or service asked to leave or assaulted after presenting identity documents that did not match their gender presentation.

If passed, Michigan would join 12 other states and the District of Columbia in removing barriers to birth certificate corrections.