Just two days after the Babs Siperstein Law went into effect in New Jersey, the transgender activist who inspired it has died.

Barbra “Babs” Siperstein, 76, died Sunday evening in New Brunswick, surrounded by her family and friends.

Siperstein was a Jersey City native, an Army veteran, small business owner and parent of three.

After coming out in 2000, Siperstein was a longtime activist for LGBTQ equality in New Jersey who served as an original board member for the non-profit, Garden State Equality.

In 2009, Siperstein became the first openly transgender member of the Democratic National Committee. She was appointed to the Democratic National Committee’s Executive Committee in 2011, where she served until fall 2017.

The state law that went into effect on Feb. 1 simplifies the process for New Jerseyans to change the gender marker on their birth certificates by doing the following:

  • There's no longer a “proof of surgery” requirement
  • There is now a third gender option, “X” for non-binary and undesignated individuals. Non-binary is a term often used by people whose do not identify as specifically male or female. That may include intersex individuals, whose anatomy doesn't confirm to tradition definitions of male and female.
  • Instead of requiring a provider certification (letter from a therapist) the law requires only "self-attestation"

Upon such a gender change request, the State registrar is to place an original birth certificate and all papers pertaining to the amended certificate under seal.

The seal may be broken upon a court order, upon the request of the person whose birth certificate it is, or, If the person is a minor, by request of a parent or guardian.

The law also provides that current New Jersey residents can get court orders to provide to their home states, if required to update birth certificates there.

Gender terms used when discussing the Babs Siperstein law include:

“In the long and proud history of New Jersey’s LGBTQ community, few voices spoke with the power and passion of Babs Siperstein," Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement released Monday. "She was a tremendous advocate and good friend, and was never shy to push us to open our hearts and minds, and to move our thinking ever forward.

"Tammy and I join all who mourn her passing, and send our thoughts to her family. However, as we do, we should all take great comfort in how far we have come in the fight for equality and dignity under the law — and the fights that have been won in no small part because of Babs’ leadership. And, in her memory, we will continue to move forward.”

 

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