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Transgender Rights Group Sues NYC Over Birth Certificates

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A transgender rights group has filed suit against the City of New York for its refusal to correct sex designations on birth certificates for those who have not had genital surgery.

The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund announced Tuesday that it was going after the city and its health department because of an “outdated” policy. Right now, trans residents are required to undergo sex reassignment surgery to alter whether they are classified as ‘male’ or ‘female’ on their birth certificates.

Staff Attorney Noah Lewis tells OutQ News that 80 percent of transgender women and 95 percent of trans men have NOT had the required genital surgery. He says this forces them to present inaccurate documentation when trying to apply for jobs or government services, which leads to harassment and discrimination.

LEWIS: “Everybody should have access to accurate up-to-date identification–proper ID is essential for participating in society today. So we have received a lot of positive feedback already that people have contacted us saying, ‘Can I join the lawsuit? This is an issue that is affecting me right now.’ And they’re really glad that we’re taking this issue on.”

Lewis says the city almost got rid of the surgical requirement in 2006, but withdrew the motion soon after. He says that proves that the city itself views the practice to be “arbitrary.”

A lawyer for the City responded to the suit. Gabriel Taussig said in a statement: “We are very sympathetic to the petitioners’ concerns and recognize that this is a complex issue.” Taussig added, “The Health Department must be satisfied that an applicant has completely and permanently transitioned to the acquired gender prior to the issuance of a new birth certificate.”

Written by Xorje Olivares

March 23, 2011 at 7:45 AM

2 Responses

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  1. [...] surgical procedure, despite having provided extensive medical documentation of their actual sex. The overwhelming majority of transgender men and women have not undergone the extensive surgery requ…, often for medical or financial reasons. But they are not exempt from the city’s [...]

  2. [...] surgical procedure, despite having provided extensive medical documentation of their actual sex. The overwhelming majority of transgender men and women have not undergone the extensive surgery requ…, often for medical or financial reasons. But they are not exempt from the city’s [...]


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