Congratulations to the transgender people born in New York who can now access accurate and consistent identity documents thanks to the state’s welcome change in policy for amending birth certificates. The state will now issue a new birth certificate once a transgender person provides an affidavit from a medical provider stating the person has received appropriate medical treatment for gender transition. Unfortunately, New York City, which issues its own birth certificates, has not yet updated its policy.
Transgender people should not have to undergo invasive surgical procedures to prove who they are or to hold accurate identity documents. Widespread discriminatory health care exclusions, employment discrimination or other medical issues also prevent most transgender people from obtaining those procedures.
Not having consistent and accurate identity documents exposes transgender people to harassment and discrimination in the employment process, the voting booth and many other contexts. We applaud New York State for taking this critical step and we urge New York City to update its outdated policy which would be consistent with the city’s recent decision to issue city identification cards that allows transgender people to self determine their gender.
New York State joins California, Oregon, Vermont, Washington state, and Washington D.C., along with the Social Security Administration, the Veteran’s Administration and the Passport Agency, all of which have removed outdated, one-size-fits-all medical standards for obtaining accurate identity documentation.
We applaud the advocates who successfully advocated for New York’s new policy, including the Empire State Pride Agenda, New York Civil Liberties Union, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project.