Today, it is with great pleasure and pride that Baker Botts L.L.P., Lambda Legal, and Brooks Pierce McLendon Humphrey & Leonard LLP announce that transgender persons born in North Carolina can now correct the gender marker on their birth certificates without the need for surgery. The news comes as a result of a consent judgment issued by a federal court in the Campos v. Cohen case, a lawsuit brought in November 2021by Baker Botts, Lambda Legal, and Brooks Pierce on behalf of three transgender plaintiffs born in North Carolina.
“I’m pleased to see this day happening, that the State of North Carolina now must recognize us for who we are. It was outrageous and dehumanizing that I was denied a birth certificate just because I didn’t have surgery. We should all agree that everyone deserves accurate and accessible identity documents that allow us to go through life and run errands with safety, dignity and respect,” said plaintiff Lillith Campos.
Under the consent judgment, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and other state government officials must provide accurate birth certificates that reflect an applicant’s sex, consistent with their gender identity, without having to undergo surgery.
“This is a victory for all transgender people born in North Carolina that will help enable them to navigate life with safety and dignity,” said Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Counsel at Lambda Legal. “We are gratified by North Carolina state officials’ agreement to reverse North Carolina’s policy prohibiting so many transgender people born in North Carolina from having accurate birth certificates.”
The Baker Botts team representing plaintiffs in Campos v. Cohen is led by partner Derek McDonald and senior associates Maddy Dwertman and Brandt Thomas Roessler. “Baker Botts is grateful for the opportunity to work with Lambda Legal in breaking down barriers to basic government services that have gone denied to transgender people,” said Brandt Thomas Roessler. “We hope that today’s victory is just the first in a long series of victories attained by Baker Botts and Lambda Legal on behalf of LGBTQ+ people.”
Baker Botts is proud to support Lambda Legal, the United States’ oldest and largest legal organization working on behalf of LGBTQ+ people and everyone living with HIV. Today’s news reflects Baker Botts’s first victory as co-counsel with Lambda Legal. Baker Botts and Lambda Legal also represent plaintiffs in three other cases: Gore v. Lee, a federal lawsuit challenging Tennessee’s policy that categorically prohibits transgender people from correcting the gender marker on their birth certificates; and Doe v. Abbott and PFLAG v. Abbott, two lawsuits challenging actions by the State of Texas that expanded the definition of “child abuse” to encompass the provision of medically necessary gender affirming care to adolescents.
More information regarding the Campos v. Cohen victory can be found in Lambda Legal’s press release: here
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