SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – A bill in the state legislature aims to remove the provision that allows transgender Utahns to change their assigned gender written on their birth certificate. An outspoken advocate for trans-Utahns said the bill is “broken” and amounts to “erasure” of transgender individuals.
Laurie Lee Hall, the architect who helped design more than 40 temples for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is now living in Kentucky as a woman. She helped design the Provo City Center Temple while she was transitioning. Now excommunicated for living as a woman, Hall still tries to maintain a connection with her faith, while also advocating for transgender individuals in Utah and throughout the country.
Hall is also a former stake president, a calling only held by men within the LDS Church.
She said H.B. 153, which Rep. Merrill Nelson (R- Grantsville) said would “clarify” confusion regarding the gender of a specific person on paper, sets a dangerous precedent for other minority groups.
Wednesday, Nelson introduced a substitute for the bill which allows individuals to assert their corrected gender on their driver license, but still not on their birth certificate.
“In talking about biological sex, it fails to recognize at all that gender identity also exists,” said Hall, who argued trans individuals strongly believe from a young age that the gender they are assigned is incorrect.
She said revoking something already granted to Utahns (though changing the gender marker has proven to be difficult for some) puts trans individuals in danger.
“We have an absolute right to self-determine who we are and to live accordingly, we need to have laws in place that support that journey and to help people live healthy and authentic lives,” she said, adding that many trans individuals in Utah experience suicidal tendencies.
H.B. 153 will be debated in the House Health and Human Services Committee Thursday, Feb. 14 at 3:40 p.m.