Transgender New Yorkers sue over birth certificates

Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:04am EDT
 
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By Aman Ali

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - A group of transgender residents filed a lawsuit against New York City over what they say are burdensome requirements for them to change the gender on their birth certificates.

The city's birth certificate requirements amount to discrimination for transgender residents, said Noah Lewis, an attorney representing the residents in the case.

New York's Health Department requires residents to show proof of surgical procedures in order to change the gender status on a birth certificate.

But the lawsuit, filed by the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund in state Supreme Court on behalf of three residents, said many transgender people cannot afford the surgical procedures.

Instead, a note from a doctor verifying someone's transgender status should be sufficient, it said.

The requirements mean many transgender people cannot get up-to-date or usable identification, Lewis said.

"This subjects them to harassment and discrimination. They can be laughed at or turned away doing everyday transactions like going to the DMV (the Department of Motor Vehicles) or applying for jobs," he said.

One of those suing the city, Joan Prinzivalli, said she would like to get the surgery the city requires to prove she is female but she is unable to for health reasons.   Continued...