Montana’s health department adopted a rule change on Friday that blocks transgender individuals from changing the sex on their birth certificate even after they go through gender-affirming surgery, in another blow to the rights of trans people in the state. 

The new rule adoption refuses to recognize the concept of “gender” on people’s birth certificates, instead replacing it with “sex” and only recognizing a change in that from a very limited set of circumstances that does not include transgender individuals going through gender-affirming surgery or healthcare, according to CNN

Recently, Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte in 2021 signed a law making it difficult for transgender individuals to change their gender on their birth certificate, which Judge Michael Moses had temporarily blocked due to a lawsuit led by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Montana on behalf of transgender plaintiffs in the state, NBC News reported. 

Democratic state legislators have called the new rule adoption a “blatant abuse of power” attempting to undermine the courts. ACLU attorney Akilah Lane is bringing up the new rule change as a way of showing that Gianforte’s administration has not been complying with the block order, which Judge Moses will reportedly do a hearing on Thursday, PBS News Hour reported. 

The rule change is among the many efforts done by the Republican party to curb the rights of transgender individuals in their state, who say that the inability to change the gender marker on their birth certificate opens them up to discrimination, harassment, and violence from others. 

The Republican party has successfully put up bans or restrictions regarding transgender individuals changing their birth certificate in Tennessee, Oklahoma and West Virginia, while similar measures in Idaho and Ohio were struck down. 

Oklahoma also put up a ban in April that prevents nonbinary gender markers from being put on birth certificates in the state.

delia-giandeini-Q8urQ8ow7CU-unsplash Montana's health department published a new directive on Friday prohibiting transgender individuals from changing their birth certificates even after going through gender-affirming surgery. This is a representational image. Delia Giandeini/Unsplash.