Updated: Jan 19, 2020
Myles and Precious Brady-Davis are making history in the state of Illinois. When Myles learned 20 weeks into their pregnancy that they would be listed on their baby's birth certificate as 'mother/coparent' while their wife would be listed as 'father,' they went about finding a way to combat this hurtful transphobic process.
“It was so crazy,” Myles told the Chicago Tribune. “I never even thought the birth certificate would have to misgender us in that way.” Myles, who is the Director of Communications for the LGBTQ+ organization, Equality Illinois, sought the help of Lambda Legal, who offer pro bono assistance to LGBTQ+ people.
Lambda Legal sent out an advocacy letter that explained reasons why a couple's child should have a birth certificate that accurately represents their parents' gender identities. This, as Precious rightfully pointed out, not only validates her and her partner's gender identities, it also protects them from potential harassment.
According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, almost a third of the people who responded reported being harassed, discriminated against, denied benefits of services, and being assaulted after presenting documentation that represented their assigned sex at birth rather than their gender identity.
Two weeks after their baby Zayn was born, the couple received word that the state agreed that they shouldn't be misgendered on their child's birth certificate. This story illuminates how far we've come and how far we still have to go. Myles, like so many trans people assigned female at birth, is viewed in a very narrow way using labels that not only seek to misgender and misrepresent them, but erase their existence entirely.
The myth that sex and gender are a binary that are one in the same, though thoroughly debunked scientifically and socially, is clung to out of fear. Fear of change, fear of accepting facts that challenge what we've been raised to believe and fear of being a scapegoat in the larger societal system simply for accepting trans people as valid. It's time to stop being afraid and start doling out information. Woman and female are words that aren't rooted in any scientific basis. They are linguistic descriptors that have a subjective meaning, not an objective one.
We at Gaye are sending love and positivity to Precious, Myles and baby Zayn! If you're an LGBTQ+ person in need of legal assistance, reach out to Lambda Legal: https://www.lambdalegal.org/