ILLINOIS (KFVS) - For decades, people in Illinois wanting to legally change their gender had to get a sex change.
A proposal making its way through the Illinois House could change that.
"Transitioning really helped me realize myself," Finn De Lima said.
He was born a girl. He began identifying as a boy when he was 14.
"I wasn't really accepting of myself; and I believe I had a lot of, like, inner turmoil because of that," he said.
The 17 year old is a Florida native now studying at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.
"I'm honestly just a happier person," he said.
His transition was complicated. He faced struggle with family and his community, including a teacher at his Florida high school.
"Just said very disgusting things to me, very harmful and mean," De Lima said.
That's why he supports new legislation that would lift a decades-old requirement for a person to get a sex change in order to change their gender marker on their birth certificate.
"Surgery is expensive," De Lima said. "People may deem it necessary, but people that are transgender, sometimes don't even want to have the surgery."
A dozen other states have similar laws, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.