Transgender individuals born in New York can now change their gender marker on their birth certificate before their 18th birthday thanks to a lawsuit by a 14-year-old trans boy, known only as M.H.W.
“Effective immediately, transgender individuals born in New York will have the right to make this deeply personal decision without the government’s unwarranted denial or without having their privacy violated,” announced New York Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday, “We will not allow an outdated policy to stop us from providing every individual with equal dignity and respect”.
According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey nearly one-third (32 percent) of respondents “who have shown an ID with a name or gender that did not match their gender presentation were verbally harassed, denied benefits or service, asked to leave, or assaulted.”
Now that the policy has been changed, M.H.W. called this “awesome” and said that “Now all my identity paperwork matches, and I can go forward not having to worry about legal documents conflicting with who I am again. I get to just go on being me” according to the statement from Lambda Legal, the LGBTQ civil rights group who filed the suit for the teen.
Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, one of the Lambda Legal attorneys who worked on the case, claimed this win as a victory for all transgender individuals, saying “Every person should be recognized and respected for who they are, It shouldn’t take a minor and his family suing the state to get their rights recognized, but with this announcement, New York State eliminates an outdated and unjust barrier to transgender minors’ ability to be themselves and have accurate, essential identity documents”.
Transgender people formerly had to submit medical documentation to prove they had transitioned before being allowed to make changes to documents. The update is effective immediately.
NBC News 3/12/20; U.S. Transgender Survey 12/1/2016; LGBTQ Nation 3/12/20