Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services Doubles Down on Anti-Transgender Policy
PRIDE DAY OF ACTION: JUNE 30, 2022
Defend the right of Montanans to have accurate personal documents
In late May, Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) issued an emergency rule that would prevent transgender and nonbinary people from revising gender marker changes. You can read MHRN’s original statement here.
Tragically, DPHHS has responded to calls from LGBTQ+ community members and allies to overturn this rule and reject gender marker changes with an attempt to make the emergency rule permanent. After receiving calls and emails detailing how harmful and hateful the emergency rule is, DPPHS chose not to listen to the majority of public statements made at the 2021 Legislative Session. Instead, they have doubled down on cruelty. This vicious attack on transgender Montanans must be stopped.
Unlike the emergency rule, a permanent rule includes opportunity for public comment. Our best chance of defeating this harmful policy is to turn out in LARGE AND LOUD NUMBERS on June 30th during public comment.
How to give comment:
There are two ways to give public comment. The first is to attend the hearing online via Zoom and give spoken or written comment. If you are able to tune into the hearing, we STRONGLY request that you make a public comment. Please do more than listen in. More comments equal more support for the rights of trans, nonbinary, and Two Spirit Montanans.
If you are unable to attend the hearing, that’s ok! You can submit written comments by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm on July 8th.
PUBLIC COMMENT GUIDE
DPHHS Rule Change Regarding Birth Certificates
The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) is proposing a rule that would make it impossible for transgender Montanans to update the gender marker on their birth certificate. If instated, this rule would make Montana one of the most restrictive states in the nation. This harmful anti-transgender policy must be rejected. At this time, the best way to prevent the adoption of the rule is to give public comment on the proposed rule change.
There are two ways to give public comment: by speaking at the rule hearing or by submitting a written statement either via email or during the hearing. The public hearing will take place via Zoom at 9 am on Thursday, June 30th. Please keep in mind all comments will be part of the official record. Speak your mind but be aware that all personal information in your statements, whether verbal or written will be part of public record.
What should I say in my public comment?
Here are some tips to giving a powerful public comment. First, make your position on the rule change obvious. Begin your statement by stating your name, where you live, and that you are strongly opposed to the proposed rule change. From there you can elaborate on why you are opposed to the rule change.
If you feel overwhelmed or too busy to write something personal, you can simply say, “I oppose the rule change and recommend DPHHS return to the 2017 rule that simplified gender marker updates.”
The most powerful form of public comment is personal testimony, which can be just a few sentences! We know it can be difficult to know what to say so we have provided some talking points for anyone who wants to support transgender Montanans:
Being unable to update gender markers on identifying documents puts transgender Montanans in danger. It will make it harder for them to find housing, get a job, and participate in the civic process.
The rule change is unnecessary and harmful. The 2017 rule was a timely update and aligned Montana’s document policies with other states. DPHHS should return to the 2017 process for updating gender markers on birth certificates.
The proposed rule grossly misrepresents the science of sex and gender. Codifying this as a policy is unacceptable. The proposed rule change should be rejected.
The proposed rule is directly in conflict with the professional recommendations of medical practitioners across the state.
The proposed rule runs counter to both legislative and judicial recommendations DPHHS. This rule creates a dangerous precedent that could allow any state agency to make up highly restrictive rules without following guidance from Montana residents and/or experts.
How do I give public comment?
There are two methods for submitting public comment.
1. If possible, please offer a written or spoken comment during the hearing. We strongly encourage folks who are able to attend the hearing to give their statements verbally during the hearing. To do this, attend the hearing on zoom at 9 am on Thursday June 30th:
Join Zoom Meeting at: https://mt-gov.zoom.us/j/81839335993?pwd=emVld1VrQ1N4QnlPY0RjRkpGdVMvUT09
Meeting ID: 818 3933 599
2. You may also submit written comments during the hearing OR you may submit a written comment via email until 5pm on July 8. To submit written comments, we recommend the following format:
Use a subject line that clearly identifies your position and the rule change:
Subject: Comment in opposition to ARM 37.8.311 rule change
Email Body: Name, location, statement in opposition.
Thank you for taking the time to speak out against this attack on transgender rights. Please encourage you friends and neighbors to take action and submit their own comments!