Legislation is being introduced today in the New York City Council that if passed will allow transgender people to change the gender on their birth certificates without undergoing gender-reassignment surgery.
Councilman Corey Johnson, who is the health committee chair, is trying to change city rules so transgender people can show certification from a health professional that the person is living a gender other than the one listed on the ID in order to make the gender change on birth certificates. He is also looking to remove any need to offer proof of having received hormone therapy or other medical treatments, reports the New York Daily News.
“It’s going to improve the lives of New Yorkers and allow them to get birth certificates that match their accurate gender,” Johnson told the Daily News. “Gender won’t be about your physicality. It won’t be about your body. It’s about how you identify.”
Earlier this year, New York State passed measures to offer the same easy access to birth certificate gender changes. However, New York City processes and produces its own birth certificates, so those changes did not affect the city's residents.
A similar measure was proposed by the city's Board of Health in 2006, according to Capital New York. It was withdrawn after concerns were raised by medical and law enforcement professionals. A measure like Johnson's will again be introduced in the Board of Health; there has been some question as to whether the board or the City Council should regulate such matters, so both will look at it.
“The reason why this is so important is because transgender people currently do not have accurate documents to be able to access basic things like a driver’s license that matches who they are,” Johnson told Capital New York. “I look at this as a human rights issue.”