Please take a moment today to send an online letter of support (see example below) urging Governor Brown to sign AB 1577, the Respect After Death Act. The bill will clarify that, for a transgender person who has passed away, that the “sex” information on the death certificate will indicate the person’s gender identity if the authority is presented with documentation of that gender identity, such as written instructions from the deceased person confirming their wishes, an updated birth certificate or driver’s license, or evidence of medical treatment for gender transition.
Simply click here and select “Legislation,” which will bring you to a page where you can select “Pro” and then insert your letter of support.
Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 445-2841
Fax: (916) 558-3160
RE: AB 1577 (Atkins) – SUPPORT
Dear Governor Brown,
I urge you to sign AB 1577, which will help ensure that transgender people are respected after passing by issuing accurate death certificates.
When a transgender person is ascribed the incorrect gender on their death certificate, whether on official documents or in the media, it is disrespectful to the memory of the deceased person and can be deeply painful and stigmatizing to grieving friends, family, and fellow community members. The lack of sufficient direction could also place funeral directors and coroners at risk of liability if the friends and family of the deceased believe that an incorrect gender marker was negligently placed on a death certificate.
AB 1577, the Respect After Death Act, will provided much-needed clarity to the authorities responsible for completing death certificates. The bill clarifies that, for a transgender person who has passed away, the “sex” information on the death certificate should indicate the person’s gender identity if the authority is presented with documentation of that gender identity, such as written instructions from the deceased person confirming their wishes, an updated birth certificate or driver’s license, or evidence of medical treatment for gender transition. If none of those documents are presented, the gender reported by the person’s legal next of kin will be used. The bill also provides that the person completing the death certificate will not be legally liable for any claims related to the designation of the decedent’s gender on the death certificate as long as those procedures are followed.
AB 1577 was inspired by the passing of Christopher Lee, a San Francisco artist and transgender advocate who was mis-gendered after his death in 2012. Lee was born female but long identified and expressed himself as a transgender man. Sadly, the coroner wrongly identified Lee as female on his death certificate despite his driver’s license that correctly showed his sex as male.
The passage of AB 1577, the Respect after Death Act, will help Christopher Lee and others like him to rest in peace and power, and will bring needed comfort and closure for his loving family, friends and communities.
For all these reasons, I urge you to sign AB 1577.
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