The Utah Vital Acts Amendment bill was presented during the opening day of the 2019 legislative session. Utah Republican Representative Merrill Nelson is proposing House Bill 0153, which would require the state to define the terms "male" and "female," as well as forbid courts from allowing individuals to change their sex on a birth certificate.
Tom Hudachko is the director of communications for the Utah Department of Health. He said the process of amending information on a birth certificate would change under the proposed legislation.
"The current process: someone comes into our office with a court order that states that the individual’s gender has changed, then we issue that individual an amended birth certificate with their newly listed gender and their newly listed name," Nelson said." The bill that's being proposed right now in the legislator would provide guidance to the courts that would restrict them from issuing these types of court orders."
If the bill passes, the term male would be defined as an individual with testes confirmed before or at birth to have anatomical characteristics that have the purpose of performing the natural reproductive function of providing and delivering sperm to a female recipient. The term female would be defined as an individual with ovaries confirmed before or at birth with anatomical characteristics that have the purpose of performing the natural reproductive function of providing eggs and receiving sperm from a male donor.
Eri Ethington, a student studying sociology and wildlife biology, described the bill as a "violent attack on the trans community", and stresses the importance of being able to change an individual's sex on their birth certificate.
"Having to stare at something where an institution of power - like the state - is legally telling you, you are something that you are not causes emotional and sometimes physical harm. And nobody should get to define you other than you," Ethington said.
The bill will have to go through the House and the Senate before it can be approved.