TRENTON — A Red Bank transgender woman is suing the state over its refusal to change her birth certificate from male to female without making the accompanying physical changes.

The state maintains that legally it cannot change the gender listed on the certificate without proof of sexual reassignment surgery. "Doe," in her complaint, said the state is forcing her to have surgery she does not want, and argues the requirement represents government intrusion into a private decision.

"Throughout my life, I have been insulted, isolated, and assaulted for being trans," Doe said in her declaration for the case. She said she has been estranged from her family for most of her life. "Doe" also argues disclosure of her personal identity would bring physical harm.

Gov. Chris Christie has twice vetoed legislation that would allow a birth certificate to be amended, saying he believes it to be "one of the most important legal documents that a person possesses" that would create "legal uncertainties."

The suit claims Christie laughed at the bill while discussing the veto during a radio interview.

"Doe" would like the state to allow trans people to use their gender identities or expressions without the proof requirement, and seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

"To have a bureaucracy or people think we are immoral or think we are mentally ill is not right, and is not the way the United State government is set up," Julie Chovanes, co-founder of the Trans-Help, which is representing the plaintiff, told


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