officials Tuesday backed off from a plan that would have
allowed New Yorkers to switch the sex designation on their
birth certificates without undergoing sex-reassignment
surgery. Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said the
issue needed further study, in part to guarantee it
wouldn't conflict with federal rules now being developed.
Like most other cities and states, New York has
long allowed people who have undergone
sex-reassignment surgery to get a new birth certificate
reflecting the change. The city's Department of Health and
Mental Hygiene had proposed in September that the
policy be liberalized further to include people who
had taken other steps short of surgery to alter their
The new policy, for example, would have allowed
birth record changes for people taking hormones to
alter their appearance. The plan would have made the
city the first in the country with such a policy, health
While it delayed making that change, the Board
of Health went ahead with a related policy revision
that for the first time will allow people who have
undergone sex-reassignment surgery to list their new sex on
their birth documents. Previously, the city had simply
issued a new birth certificate that removed any
reference to gender.
Cole Thaler, a transgender rights attorney, said
he was disappointed by the board's decision not to
implement the new policy. ''Some people are physically
unable to have the surgery, for health reasons,'' Thaler
said. ''I'm hopeful that time will lead to a more fair
result.'' (David B. Caruso, AP)
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