Oklahoma Watch: Governor’s order throws transgender Oklahomans into legal limbo

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01/22/2022

On the second Wednesday of every month, attorney Josh Payton can be found behind a gray table downtown at the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center. Clients say Payton’s clinic and services provide them with pathways to proper medical care and detours around housing and workplace discrimination. Since starting the clinic in October 2020, Payton has helped more than 40 transgender Oklahomans get court orders to amend their name and gender on birth certificates. He has 30 waiting to file. “They want a piece of paper that validates them from the beginning,” Payton said. The hope his services give clients has faded some since late last year, when the governor’s executive order disrupted the process. Historically, Oklahomans could change their gender between male and female on their birth certificate by presenting a court order to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. The department established a process for a third gender option last year — nonbinary, an umbrella term for genders other than male and female, which would be represented by the letter “X.”

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