Wisconsin birth certificates to offer gender neutral option for parents

By: - June 28, 2021 1:03 pm

Photo by Liv Bruce on Unsplash

Gov. Tony Evers announced on Monday that beginning in July, Wisconsin birth certificate forms will offer a gender-neutral option for identifying the parents of the newborn. 

Current forms say “mother-father” and the updated forms will also include a “parent-parent” option. In a release, Evers indicated that the update is a part of his administration’s commitment to gender-neutral terminology. The Department of Health Services change on the birth certificate follows an executive order signed by Evers on June 1 directing state agencies to use gender-neutral language in external communications. 

“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,” said Evers. “I am glad to see this change being made as we continue to update our state policies and procedures to better reflect the Wisconsinites we serve.”

Evers was also the first governor to fly the rainbow flag over the Capitol during Pride Month to honor LGBTQ Wisconsinites. DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake says updating the birth certificate forms in just one step “on the long road to adopting gender-neutral language.”

Other steps being taken immediately are including “parent giving birth” and making the forms available in English, Spanish and Hmong. And anyone who would like past forms to be updated to say parent-parent can request that their child’s existing birth certificate be altered to parent-parent by contacting the Vital Records Office

UnityPoint Health-Meriter President and CEO Sue Erickson approved of the change: “We are so pleased that Wisconsin created a more inclusive birth certificate form to reflect the families of our state and community. This change allows all birthing parents to focus solely on their newborn.”


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Melanie Conklin
Melanie Conklin

Melanie Conklin is proud to be a native of the state of Wisconsin, which gave humankind the typewriter, progressivism and deep-fried cheese curds. Her several decades in journalism include political beats and columns at Isthmus newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal and other publications. When not an ink-stained wretch, she served time inside state, local and federal government in communications. She is excited to be back at the craft of journalism as Deputy Editor of the Wisconsin Examiner. It’s what she’s loved ever since getting her master’s degree in journalism from the UW-Madison. Her family includes one husband, two kids, four dogs and five (or more) chinchillas.