Judge tells NYC health dept. to loosen up on transgender birth certificate case

Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Paul G. Feinman

THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — A 70-year-old trans man had sex reassignment surgery (SRS) but the New York City Health Department was giving him the runaround when it came to changing his birth certificate. So Louis Birney took them to court. In a ruling, state Supreme Court Justice Paul G. Feinman agreed with Birney and gave the city a scolding:

From the Associated Press: [Feinman’s] ruling faulted the Health Department for not providing “a clear, straightforward list” of requirements for changing a birth certificate. And he suggested that calling for psychological records amounted to overreaching for information and underappreciating what it takes to change genders.”It does not seem very likely that an individual would go through all the years of required preparation for surgical transition, including psychotherapy, undergo major surgery, assume life under his or her new gender, and then decide it was all a mistake and change back,” Feinman wrote. “This apparent assumption tends to suggest a certain ignorance by the department of the lengthy transition process and the lives and experience of transgender people.”

Erica Kagan, Birney’s lawyer: “I hope that the Department of Health will really take this to heart and really see that the court is, in this decision, recognizing the importance of respecting the identities of transgender individuals.”

While it is not quite clear what the city is going to do in reaction to the ruling, but changes are expected. Trans advocates in NYC are also hoping the city eventually drops the surgery requirement as well.

The Associated Press: NYC rapped in transgender birth certificate case.

NYC Health Dept scolded by judge over birth certificate delays.


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Categories: Discrimination, Equality, Civil Rights, Transgender, Transsexual, Trans

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3 replies

  1. The process for changing the gender marker on your birth certificate in NYC is Byzantine. It took me a solid year, 4 distinct submissions of my paperwork (including the paperwork being “lost” for almost 2 months) and, finally, three phone calls with E.L. Timbers, the Director of Corrections at the Bureau of Vital Records. Ultimately, I had to submit the application for correction, a copy of both my old and new photo ID, the court order for my name change, a letter from my physician certifying she had performed a post-op physical, a letter from my surgeon AND a copy of the surgical report and a letter from my psychiatrist attesting to my diagnosis (all documents, except for photo ID, must be certified originals). In the final analysis, it should not even be a requirement that reassignment surgery be performed. Many people can’t afford it, or have health related barriers. Like passports, a certified statement from a licensed therapist should be enough.

  2. I am in agreement withthe findings.Finally someone is brave enough to side with the fact after years of living of living one gender that is achieved.The correct gender is appropriate
    for us as trans individuals

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