California (USA)


Christopher Lee. Lee, 48, committed suicide in December 2012. Lee’s death certificate said female on it.  Because this offended transgender people, the Transgender Law Center and Equality California, a gay rights group, pushed for new legislation in the state capitol this year. The “Respect After Death Act”, introduced by Assemblymember Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), requires that individuals completing a death certificate record the decedent’s sex to reflect his or her gender identity, not simply sexual anatomy.

The bill, AB 1577, passed a health committee vote and awaits a May hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. It specifies legal documents that officials should defer to when determining gender on a death certificate. These documents include a birth certificate, a court order approving a name or gender change, a passport, proof of clinical treatment for gender transition, and a valid driver’s license. In the event of a conflict, such documents would trump preferences of next-of-kin.

AB 1577 Assembly Bill – Bill Analysis.

Male in Life, Female in Death_ The Story of Christopher Lee’s Death Certificate _ State of Health Blog from KQED News.


One thought on “California (USA)

  1. Birth and death certificates of human beings should reflect actual science. It should be clear and precise. This is not good science or public policy because a skilled and knowledgeable anthropologist or forensic pathologist can tell just by looking at the skeleton that this is a female. They know the dead person is a female, but the death certificate says “male”.

    In this article, it states that this individual had not undergone any surgery and still had female genitalia. Why should coroners be forced to write inaccurate information on a birth certificate?

    How can scientists carry out epidemiological studies or research in medicine when they don’t know if they are dealing with a biological female or a biological male? Certain diseases effect different populations, and if the death certificate says “male” when the dead individual is really a biological female, this can throw off the research.

    The families of the deceased should be respected, and they can have any service they so desire. However, birth and death certificates should be based on science not political correctness.


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