Evers, DHS add gender-neutral language options for birth certificates

By Patrick Lynn

Gov. Tony Evers, with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), this week announced that beginning Thurs., July 1, 2021, Wisconsin parents will have a new, gender-neutral option for identifying the parents of a child.

Birth forms used to generate birth certificates will be updated to include an option for “parent-parent,” in addition to “mother-father,” according to a news release from Evers’ office.

“This change reflects the administration’s commitment to gender-neutral terminology and recognizing that families are diverse and should all be recognized and valued in state systems,” Evers said. “This change reflects my and my administration’s commitment to gender-neutral terminology and to recognizing that Wisconsin families are diverse and should be valued and respected.”

Evers signed Executive Order #121 directing state agencies to use gender-neutral language in their external communications on June 1.

“We are working hard to make Wisconsin a more inclusive, equitable, and just state and this update ensures our LGBTQ Wisconsinites are seen and heard when welcoming a child into the world,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “Updating our birth certificate forms is one important step on the long road to adopting gender-neutral language in all of our external documents.”

Other changes to the birth forms include using “parent giving birth,” and making the forms available in English, Spanish, and Hmong starting July 1. The changes are consistent with other public-facing forms within Vital Records that use “spouse-spouse” and other gender-neutral language.

After July 1, 2021, individuals who would like to request that the label on their or their child’s existing birth certificate be switched to parent-parent can contact the Vital Records Office by email or by calling 608-266-1373.

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