Jude's Law

One Colorado executive director Daniel Ramos commended the sponsors of Jude's Law, which take effects Wednesday, Rep. Daneya Esgar of Pueblo and Sen. Dominick Moreno of Commerce City.

Starting Wednesday with the new year, Coloradans will have an easier time amending their birth certificate to reflect their identity, noted One Colorado, the state's largest advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer residents and their families.

The legislature passed House Bill 1039, named Jude's Law, last session after trying unsuccessfully in three previous years. The bill is named for a transgender student who started testifying at the Capitol when she was 9 years old. Jude's last name has not been publicized, because advocates cited safety at school for the child and privacy reasons for the family.

“When I walk into the doctor’s office and can get called by the right name and the right gender that actually matches who I am, I don’t have to be afraid of being outed in front of others,” Jude said in a statement provided by One Colorado on Tuesday.

Daniel Ramos, One Colorado's executive director, said that the first attempt at the Birth Certificate Modernization Act in 2015 was the state's first piece of legislation that was transgender-specific.

“Four years later, Colorado is now a leader, being one of the first states in the country to have nonbinary gender options and self-attestation for gender on a suite of identity documents, including birth certificates, driver’s licenses, and state identification cards. This progress wouldn’t be possible without folks like Jude sharing their stories,” he said in a statement Tuesday.

“This was a historic session for LGBTQ Coloradans and their families. With legislation that impacts LGBTQ youth, transgender, and nonbinary Coloradans, One Colorado championed bills for some of the most vulnerable individuals in our community to improve their everyday lives. The strong bipartisan support of this bill further demonstrates that LGBTQ equality is a nonpartisan issue, and we applaud the Republicans who stood with our community. While this is a huge step forward for transgender rights, there is still much work to do.”

The new law allows transgender and non-binary Coloradans to change their name and gender to reflect their identity without previously required surgery or appearing before a judge. Coloradans will be able to update their gender on their birth certificate to M, F or X.

One Colorado noted the work of the bill's sponsors, then-LGBT Caucus co-chairs Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, and Sen. Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City.

“This bill was about personal freedom,” Esgar said in a statement. “Not having updated identity documents interferes with the ability of transgender Coloradans to live their lives openly and honestly and to be their authentic selves. Jude has testified at the Capitol in support of this legislation for years now. We have watched her grow up in front of our eyes. She has been simply asking this legislature to give her the ability to live her most genuine life.” 

Moreno characterized bureaucracy as discrimination.

"For too long, transgender Coloradans have faced discriminatory red tape that makes it unnecessarily challenging to live openly as their true selves," he stated. "I am proud that today we passed Jude’s Law, my bill to make it easier for transgender Coloradans to update identity documents without having to undergo surgery or appear in court. This new policy will help Colorado move toward a future where everyone has equal rights and an equal opportunity to be themselves."

The bill was passed mostly by Democrats, picking up Republican votes from Reps. Colin Larson of Littleton and Hugh McKean of Loveland, as well as Sens. Don Coram of Montrose, Kevin Priola of Henderson, Bob Rankin of Carbondale and Jim Smallwood of Parker. 

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