Idaho’s transgender community won a huge legal victory this week after a federal judge in Boise stuck down the state’s policy banning transgender people from changing the assigned gender on their birth certificates.

Idaho now has until April 6 to begin considering applications for people who wish to change their birth certificates to accurately reflect their gender identity.

The ruling, issued Monday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale, was in response to a lawsuit that two transgender women filed last year after the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) rejected their applications to change the gender on their birth certificates. Both women said that being identified as a male on their birth certificates has led to discrimination.

One of the woman, identified only by her initials F.V., said that a social security office employee called her a “tranny” after seeing her birth certificate. The other plaintiff, Dani Martin, said she had a similarly distressing experience at a local DMV.

According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, almost one in three transgender individuals who showed an ID with a name or gender that did not match their gender presentation were “verbally harassed, denied benefits or service, asked to leave, or assaulted.”

In her ruling, Dale agreed that such discrepancies “can create risks to the health and safety of transgender people,” who the judge noted already face disproportionately high levels of discrimination. As such, barring transgender individuals from changing their birth certificates to reflect their preferred gender is “unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment,” Dale wrote.

Though applications aren’t guaranteed to be approved, Dale said that “such applications must be reviewed and considered through a constitutionally-sound approval process.”

If an application is approved, the reissued birth certificate cannot have a record of any name changes or amendments to the assigned gender. This is to protect transgender individuals from possible discrimination.

Niki Forbing-Orr, a spokeswoman for IDHW, told the Idaho Statesman on Tuesday that the agency was reviewing the court order and “determining our next steps.”

As the Statesman noted, officials at the department had previously acknowledged that their current rules about birth certificate changes were “unfair” but that they would need a court order to change the policy. 

Idaho is currently one of only four states that does not currently permit transgender people to change their birth certificate gender markers.

State officials in Idaho “must begin accepting applications made by transgender people to change the sex listed on their birth certificates on or before April 6,” a federal court ruled this week, finding the state’s current policy unconstitutionally discriminates against trans people.

Applications to change gender markers on birth certificates, according to the ruling, “must be reviewed and considered through a constitutionally-sound approval process,” and “upon approval, any reissued birth certificate must not include record of amendment to the listed sex.” In the case of a name change, “any reissued birth certificate must not include record of the name change.”

Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Peter Renn, who worked on the case, said Idaho “previously had a policy of categorically refusing to correct the gender markers of transgender people and the court unequivocally said that is unconstitutional.”

Lambda Legal, an LGBTQ legal organization, filed the lawsuit last year on behalf of two transgender women, F.V. (identified only by her initials) and Dani Martin, each of whom experienced discrimination in the process of attempting to change their identity documents, according to the lawsuit. Upon showing her birth certificate at a social security office, F.V. said she was met with epithets including “tranny” and “faggot.” At an Idaho DMV, Martin said she had to insist upon being treated as a woman, because her birth certificate did not reflect her gender identity.

Idaho, along with Ohio, Tennessee, Kansas and Puerto Rico, currently do not allow transgender individuals to change the gender markers on their birth certificates. The remaining 46 states, along with the District of Columbia, permit changes to birth certificate gender markers, and countries such as Argentina and Denmark have passed national legislation allowing transgender adults to change their identity documents based solely on self-identification.

This week’s ruling, Renn said, “moves Idaho into line with the rest of America and jettisons an archaic and unjust policy.”

“The government has conceded that they have no basis for withholding from transgender people that basic tool that they need to go through life,” he added.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho gave the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) 30 days to come up with a policy in compliance with the court’s ruling. Renn said he expects the government to fully comply with the court’s ruling.

The state’s existing policy, Renn stressed, is “harmful because it outs transgender people.”

According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, an estimated 10 percent of respondents had their name and gender accurately depicted on all their identity documents, and more than two thirds (68 percent) said that none of their identity documents accurately reflected their gender identity. Almost one third (32 percent) of those surveyed who presented a form of identification that did not match their gender identity had been verbally or physically assaulted, denied benefits or services or asked to leave.

“This case is as much about safety and privacy as it is about equality and nondiscrimination,” Renn said, adding that Idaho’s current policy “jeopardizes the safety of transgender people.”

There is also a personal dimension to the victory, Renn added. “A birth certificate is more than a piece of paper. It is government recognition of who you are, and it is significant that Idaho is recognizing the gender identity of trans people,” he said. “That means a lot on a personal level.”

F.V., one of the plaintiffs in the case, said she is “excited to be among the first to update their birth certificates” in Idaho.

“I am thrilled and proud that my own state will be updating their policies, even though it required a court order to do so,” she said.

Gia, a 14-year-old transgender student, wanted a fresh start at her new campus as she prepared to move from middle school to high school. To get the process going, she wrote a letter to the entire school announcing her plans to transition to living as a girl.

“I decided to do that because I didn’t want to just go out into my school and surprise everybody, because I didn’t feel like it was prepping enough for what was going on,” Gia says. “And I just felt writing a letter would inform everybody and give everybody time to think and reflect on this before they saw me for the first time as a girl.”

Gia is now raising the visibility of transgender teens through the GenderCoolprogram, co-founded by Jennifer Grosshandler and Gearah Goldstein.

In Coming Out Stories, a new video series from PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly, 16 LGBTQ people from all walks of life share how they opened up to friends, family and the world — and how their lives changed.

One inspiration for the series: the new movie Love, Simon (in theaters March 16), a moving comedy-drama about a gay teen (Nick Robinson) struggling with how to come out to his friends and parents (played by Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel). Love, Simon director Greg Berlanti (the producer behind TV’s Riverdale and Supergirl) tells his own coming out story in the series, as does costar Keiynan Lonsdale.

Others sharing their stories include Modern Family actor Jesse Tyler FergusonGrey’s Anatomy actress Sara Ramirez, retired NBA player Jason Collins, social media star Tyler Oakley and Brooke Guinan, a New York City firefighter who is transgender.

PEOPLE and EW partnered with GLSEN, a nonprofit that fights to make schools safe for all kids, to create Coming Out Stories. See all the hilarious and heartbreaking tales at people.com/comingoutstories or on PeopleTV (download the app on your favorite mobile or connected TV device).

There is a moment in the Chilean film "A Fantastic Woman" when a transgender singer stands onstage and lifts her voice, an unwavering mezzo-soprano that rises above the cruelties and prejudices she's encountered in a country that has scorned her identity, ridiculed her love and chipped away at her pride.

Sebastián Lelio's story, which won the Academy Award for foreign-language film, is an unrepentant fable in a time when transgender people and others in the LGBTQ community are demanding wider rights in countries, including Chile, that have treated them as deviants and curiosities. The film follows Marina (played by transgender actress Daniela Vega) in a quiet rebellion for dignity against condescension and relentless humiliation.

"I'm on Jupiter. I can't believe that this happened," Lelio said of his Oscar. "It is a film that has managed to contribute to a necessary and urgent conversation."

"A Fantastic Woman" opens with Marina and her lover Orlando (Francisco Reyes) out on a date in Santiago. Things turn tragic when Orlando falls ill and dies. Marina grieves but also endures the scorn — both pointed and subtle — of a woman who is held in suspicion by Orlando's family and the police. She moves through the story stunned but with the accustomed indignation that comes with being "the other." In one scene, investigators subject her to a strip search, embarrassing her in the glare of florescent light.

Orlando's ex-wife, Sonia (Aline Küppenheim), tells Marina with disdain: "When I look at you. I don't know what I'm seeing."

But she is unbroken; each slight brings a renewed resolve that has made the movie a bellwether for the transgender movement.

The first film from Chile to win an Academy Award in the foreign category, "A Fantastic Woman" is Lelio's latest meditation of those at the edges. His 2013 international hit "Gloria" explored similar themes in the story of a middle-aged divorcee riding the joys, insecurities and indignities of a new romance. But the stakes are higher and the redemption more socially poignant for civil rights and gender equality in "Woman."

"I didn't make a casting decision as a fascist decision but as an act of freedom," said Lelio of his choice of Vega to star. "Casting is an art. The presence of Daniela brought a quality to the story that adds a layer of complexity and beauty that I think a cisgender actor would not have been capable of bringing."

He added: "I never thought that [casting her] was going to be that important, in the sense of how the film is perceived. I've been very surprised and happy that it's become one of the most important artistic gestures of the movie. If it can keep expanding the horizons of our thinking, [it's] so welcomed."

Vega, whose portrayal of Marina, a waitress and a singer, was widely praised, said the film was a lesson against discrimination in an often unaccepting world: "I hope that everybody watches the movie and sees that it's been produced from a place of love and it's been produced to raise a lot of questions. One of them: What is left for the next generation? A better world or not?"

In my twenties, in graduate school, I thought a lot about my daughter. She didn’t exist yet, but when you’re studying fiction for a living, this doesn’t matter as much. I had long observed that being a girl in the world was tricky, but in graduate school for the first time I started to look critically at why and to consider what might be done about it. I started keeping a list of what a girl starting from scratch, my someday infant daughter, would need to know to help navigate and advocate from the get-go. They were things like this:

Being a girl is hard but awesome.

Girls are strong, smart, talented, and capable. You can do anything you want. Worlds sit at your doorstep. Adventure is your birthright. There are no paths barred to you just because you’re not a boy.

You are beautiful. Your body, your face, your hair, your skin: beautiful.

So is everyone else. Variations of shape, shade, size, texture? All beautiful.

It’s not your outside that counts anyway. It’s your intelligence, kindness, generosity, curiosity. It’s your strength, your willingness to fight, your insistence on standing up when standing up is what is called for.

I figured that about covered it. Probably more would come up, but that seemed like a good introductory document as far as imaginary daughters went. I was getting a head start after all. But you know what Robert Burns had to say about the best laid plans of mice, men, and graduate students. Years later when the time came, I had a boy instead.

The list is different for a son. He didn’t need me to tell him any of those things. The whole world was telling him he was awesome. The whole world thought he was beautiful, no matter his shape or size. He never imagined there would be things he couldn’t do just because he was male. And he was right. So I went ahead and worried about all the other, non gender-specific things parents worry about. Look both ways before you cross the street. Don’t swallow marbles or really anything you find on the floor of the playroom. The dog is not a ride-on toy. This sort of thing.

But another thing I was wrong about, another difference between imagined children and the real kind, is I had this notion that they were relatively static. The plans I made for my daughter seemed to me at the time to be for all time because I was imagining a daughter fixed in time. But that is not the way either time or children work. Which is why even after things didn’t go as planned, they didn’t go as planned. It is not surprising that the life I concocted at 23 for a not yet extant human did not turn out to apply. But the plot twists that came later were the ones I never saw coming.

One surprising thing that happened, slowly—another thing you don’t realize in your twenties: that sometimes plot twists happen unhurriedly while you’re not paying attention over the course of months and years rather than suddenly with the crashing of cymbals on penultimate pages—was that my son switched from shorts to skirts. He grew out his hair. He changed his name and pronouns. He became she instead. Another surprising thing that happened—also, probably, slowly—was Donald Trump became president of the country in which I was trying to raise my now-daughter, a small transgender human for whom my list seemed woefully and increasingly and heartbreakingly inadequate. My daughter-list was not designed for this sort of daughter. It was not designed for this sort of country. The game was much harder, far more rigged against us, than I’d even feared. We were gonna need a bigger list.

And so we undertook great change. To the topics I was used to addressing with my kid over breakfast—the advantages of remembering to bring home both gloves, the reasons coffee and cursing are allowed for adults but not for children, red or green grapes: discuss—we added gender issues and transgender issues. These are front and center for her, in the first place because they impact her life day to day, because they demand some decision-making and problem solving, but also because they feature prominently in her emerging sense of her own identity. That is, they are exciting, and she is nine and therefore naturally self-involved. But we talk about these, her issues, while also talking about race, immigration, refugees, class inequities, also her issues, and how all those frameworks overlap and fit together and fail to fit together.

I didn’t study intersectionality until graduate school, and I’d have guessed at the time that nine was too young to do identity politics over breakfast, but when my plans changed, so did my age restrictions. I stopped telling my daughter she was too young to read The Diary of Anne Frank. I took her to see The Breadwinner even though it is scary and upsetting and rated PG-13. The world is scary and upsetting, and it makes less sense to me than it did in the planning stages to try to protect her from that fact by hoping she doesn’t notice. She noticed.

In other ways, the change was much more simple, much more predictable. It was me. I am no longer a childless graduate student in my twenties. I am now a mother in my forties. The fierceness that comes with motherhood is beyond imagining from the other side. My point to my child was no longer be who you are. It was more like be who you are, and I will use my teeth to rip the face off anyone who stands in your way.

So it’s less that the list still applies and more that via hard fought, relentlessly fought, tooth-and-nail every day clawed-out persistence, I’ve insisted on it. No matter who’s in the White House. No matter what’s between her legs. When I tell her her body is beautiful just as it is, it means more than it used to, than it would for other girls. I don’t know what you will look like when you grow up, I now admit to her; for her, this question is both fraught and complicated, but this is also true for all parents of all nine-year-olds. Will you be taller than most of your girlfriends? Will your jaw and your eyebrows look different than theirs? Your shoulders and chest? Your legs and your belly? I don’t know. What I do know is this: Some of your girlfriends will be tall and some short. Some will be fat and some skinny. Some will have frizzy hair and some will have thick eyebrows and some will have giant breasts and some will have tiny ones. All will feel awkward about it. All will be beautiful. You will look different in some ways and the same in others. You will feel awkward about it. You will be beautiful.

And that’s just her outside. It has more layers than I predicted and still does not lay bare what matters most about her. What matters most about her, and matters more than ever, is the intelligence, kindness, generosity, and curiosity I promised in the first place, her strength and her willingness to fight. She has had to stand up earlier than I ever imagined she would and doing so has been made harder even in her short lifetime, but she has done it anyway. If bigotry and hatred have gotten louder of late, if they’ve been condoned, handed down, and indeed legislated by the highest condoning, handing down, and legislating bodies in the land, we must note that we are not alone, that in fact we are legion, that we stand taller, that we do so on the side of goodness and rightness.

Or maybe it is just as simple as this: Being a transgirl is being a girl. So it is also hard, and it is also awesome.

Graduate school in my twenties wasn’t trying to teach me how to parent, and it wasn’t trying to teach me how to survive in times of political darkness, but the list I made there and then serves pretty well, in spite of the unexpected and unimagined. Feminist theory and cultural theory and gender theory and queer theory and race theory and, hell, literary theory turn out to be surprisingly good real-life theory. And there’s also this, which even my ever-changing nine-year-old knows: Very little goes as expected, but seldom is that a disaster. Very little stays the same, but we are built to weather change. You cannot keep us down if we will not stay down, and we will not. We guess wrong about so much, but in the end, comparatively speaking, we’re not so wrong after all.

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