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New York eases requirements to change gender on birth docs

Changes don’t apply to NYC, which issues own birth certificates

New York’s State Department of Health no longer requires proof of surgery or hormone treatments to amend gender markers on birth certificates, Empire State Pride Agenda says in a June 5 release.

With the amended policy, people wishing to change the gender designation on their certificates will be asked to submit an affidavit from a licensed healthcare practitioner stating that they are receiving appropriate clinical treatment, the release says.

According to Empire State Pride Agenda advocates, who received the news from the office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the change comes into effect immediately. 

“The policy, which hadn’t been changed since the 1970s, now reflects current medical best practices and federal precedents, and brings the process into line with existing agencies protocols such as the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, the US Department of State, the Social Security Administration, among others,” they say.

“This will ensure that transgender people can obtain accurate birth certificates that reflect who they are. It also means they will stop being subjected to harassment and discrimination in areas like employment where identification is essential to proving eligibility to work,” says Michael Silverman, the executive director of  the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund. 

The amended policy does not apply to New York City, which issues its own birth certificates, Silverman notes. “It is time for New York City to follow the lead of New York State by adopting policies that treat transgender New Yorkers fairly and equally,” he says.