by Romana M. Brown on Jun 14, 2018 Uncategorized
In the Philippines, the gender on a birth certificate can be changed in the case of "a clerical or typographical error." A hard_won legal precedent for changing the gender designation for identity reasons also exists. In a 2008 ruling of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, Jennifer Cagandahan obtained the right to change the name and gender on her birth certificate.
This happened to Rachel Zients Schinderman, whose father died when she was four. As an adult she was adopted by her stepfather, which triggered the reissue of her birth certificate to replace her father's name with her stepfather's. This was an emotional experience for Schinderman. "No one could take my real father away from me, and someone else wanted to be there for me too," she tells me. Even so, the result strikes her as uncanny. "It is very strange to see [my stepfather's] name there and the age he would have been at the time of my birth." Schinderman understands why birth certificates get reissued upon adoption, but feels alienated by the bureaucratic requirement for such a change. "I just wish I had the option," she says.