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New York City ends surgery requirement to change birth certificate

New York City ends surgery requirement to change birth certificate

Transgender people in New York City will no longer be required to undergo sex reassignment surgery to change the gender on their birth certificates.

The city council yesterday (8 December) passed a bill that eliminated the ‘antiquated’ requirement by 39 votes to four, with three absentations.

The legislation was introduced by councilman Corey Johnson in October and is expected to be signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The new policy requires that a licensed health care provider state that an individual’s true sex is not accurately recorded on their current birth certificate instead of surgery, which can be medically and financially prohibitive.

Mismatched identification can lead to harassment, discrimination and sometimes accusations of fraud and impedes access to health care and economic opportunity, the council said.

New York City joins seven other jurisdictions that have eliminated similar surgery requirements, including California, Iowa, New York state, Oregon, Vermont, Washington state and Washington DC.

The new legislation comes after the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF) filed a lawsuit against the city in 2011 on behalf of three transgender New Yorkers.

‘We are thrilled by the passage of this legislation,’ said TLDEF executive director Michael Silverman.

‘Today’s action will dramatically improve the lives of transgender people born in New York City.

Plaintiff Patricia Harrington said, ‘I’m proud to be a transgender woman and just want to live my life like everyone else.

‘There’s nothing wrong with who I am and my birth certificate should reflect the true me.’