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. “This policy is unfair to me and to other transgender people who just want IDs that match who we are.”
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 or applying for jobs,” he said. “The Health Department must be satisfied that an applicant has completely and permanently transitioned to the acquired gender prior to the issuance of a birth certificate.”
Birth certificates for transgendered people in New York were an issue earlier this month when the city made an apology to a transgendered couple asked to show birth certificates when getting married because the clerk claimed they did not appear to match the people in their photo IDs.
They threatened to sue because state laws do not require couples to show birth certificates when getting married.