New Jersey

Transgender Activist, NJ Birth Certificate Law Namesake, Barbra Siperstein Dies at 76

The Garden State native passed away in New Brunswick, NJ surrounded by family and friends.

The namesake of a recently enacted law that allows New Jersey transgender residents to change their genders on their birth certificates has died.

Barbra "Babs" Casbar Siperstein died Sunday at age 76. Siperstein's death was reported by gay rights advocacy group Garden State Equality just two days after the law named for her took effect. 

The Babs Siperstein Law allows the registrar to amend birth certificates based on how people identify themselves, as male, female or undesignated. Previous law allowed birth certificate changes only if a doctor certified that a person's gender was surgically changed.

Siperstein also was the first openly transgender member of the Democratic National Committee. She was appointed to the committee in 2009 and two years later was appointed to its executive committee in 2011, where she served until October 2017.

Some of New Jersey's most prominent political figures have paid tribute to Siperstein since the news of her death broke.

“In the long and proud history of New Jersey’s LGBTQ community, few voices spoke with the power and passion of Babs Siperstein," New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said. Trenton mayor Reed Gusciora called her a friend and "one of the most influential advocates for the LGBTQ community."

Siperstein's cause of death has not yet been disclosed. She is survived by her partner, Dorothy, and her three children.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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