[JURIST] Oregon became the second US state to enact legislation [HB 2673A materials] that makes it easier for transgender individuals to change the name and gender on their birth certificates on Thursday. The law [Reuters report] allows transgender Oregon residents to amend their name and gender identification by filling out a form rather than having to post a public notice in the county clerk's office and petition a court. The new system will allow for more privacy and is more cost effective as well. The process will cost an estimated $65 instead of the hundreds of dollars typically incurred by court fees. A 2015 survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality [advocacy website] showed that just one in 10 transgender people have legal identification that matches their gender identity. Reduced costs and fewer processing hurdles will make it easier for transgender individuals to obtain the identification required to find jobs and receive access to medical care. The law was signed [Advocate report] by Governor Kate Brown [official website], the nation's first openly bisexual governor, and will go into effect January 2018.
Transgender rights have been a controversial issue in recent months, mostly concerning access to bathrooms. In April the US Department of Justice [official website] dropped a lawsuit [JURIST report] against North Carolina concerning a bill requiring transgender people to use the public bathroom associated with their birth gender. North Carolina repealed [JURIST report] House Bill 2 in March with the passage of House Bill 142. Last May former North Carolina governor Pat McCrory filed a complaint for declaratory judgment asking the federal court to weigh in on the legality of the bill but withdrew [JURIST reports] from the lawsuit in September. In March 2016 North Carolina individuals and civil rights groups filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] against McCrory, claiming that the bill was unconstitutional and discriminatory. Earlier that month McCrory signed the bill into law [JURIST report], preventing local governments from enacting their own nondiscrimination ordinances and making them unable to pass laws allowing transgender people to use the public restroom or locker room that corresponds with their gender identity.