A new law in Oregon allows people who change genders to prevent others from digging into their real names and the gender they were assigned at birth. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown, who is bisexual and became the country’s first openly LGBTQ elected governor after taking office last year.
With the passage of the transgender equity bill by Oregon’s Democratic-controlled legislature, that state will be the second after California to adopt laws designed to reduce discrimination against transgender individuals. The law is aimed at preventing employers, landlords and anyone else from uncovering birth-record changes. Currently, it is easy to identify the “dead names” of transgender individuals.
The measure, which will take effect next year, eliminates the requirement for anyone wishing to change their name or gender to go through the courts. It will also allow court cases involving these changes to be sealed from the public.
Oregon’s bill is among several new LGBT-friendly laws in the United States. In Nevada, Gov. Brian Sandoval signed into law a measure banning “conversion therapy” for gay youth. Republican Congressman Scott Taylor of Virginia is co-sponsoring the federal Equity Act, which gives civil rights protections to LGBTQ individuals.
Meanwhile, new bills in South Dakota, Alabama, and Texas propose protections to religious-based adoption services that allow them to refuse adoption to gay or lesbian parents. In Texas, a new “transgender bathroom bill” narrowly tailored for public schools passed this May.