DENVER — 2020 has already been a big year for 13-year-old Jude, who asked that we don’t use her last name.
“On January 2nd, I went to the vital records office. And I was there to get my gender and name changed on my birth certificate.”
The Boulder County teen is the first to benefit from Jude’s Law, named after her, which went into effect Wednesday.
Other transgender individuals have gone into the vital records office since then.
It allows transgender individuals to obtain new birth certificates, with a different sex, without having to prove they underwent gender reassignment surgery.
“A transgender or non-binary person can access any state identity document—a birth certificate, a driver’s license, a state ID without a cumbersome process, like needing a surgery, a court order, or a doctor’s note,” said Daniel Ramos, Executive Director of One Colorado.
One Colorado helped write legislation for the bill, which was signed into law by Governor Jared Polis.
Jude says her new birth certificate was more than just a piece of paper to her.
“I think a lot of us have lived as someone that we’re not. And we’ve been identifying by something that wasn’t who we are. And for me, that brought a really dark place—a lot of self-hate,” she explained.
“I got my old birth certificate and I ripped it. It was kind of a nice little closure to say ‘I’m done with you. It’s over,’” she added.
Jude says she has identified as a transgender girl since 2015.
“I don’t need a surgery to describe who I am, and I think that some people can’t afford that and it’s not always an option.”
She started working with One Colorado, when she was nine, testifying on behalf of the bill.
“The first time she testified, she was little with curls. Remember? You had your little flower dress on,” said Jude’s mother—Jenna—smiling, as she looked over at Jude.
“And she’s just come so far. To be able to say that my child is fighting for other people’s human rights—that’s pretty cool, especially when she’s just 13 years old,” Jenna added.
Jude says the new law puts the transgender community one step closer to equality, but believes they still have a ways to go.
“Right now, I’m working with Congressman [Joe] Neguse on making Jude’s Law a federal law, so that it will be in every step. And I think that will be my next step.”