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City backs off rule change on gender

New York
City backs off rule change on gender

City health 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 gender identity. 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 officials said. 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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