Big Win for Trans Adults and Minors to Amend Their New York State Birth Certificates
On March 10, 2020, the New York State Attorney General's Office announced that it was revising the state's policy to allow transgender adults and minors to amend birth certificates issued by the New York State Department of Health. Under this new policy, minors 16 years old and younger can amend their birth certificates through their parents, and individuals 17 years and older can amend their birth certificates on their own.
It gets better -- under the new policy, no medical affidavits are required from treating medical providers for adults or minors. All you need to do is fill out a basic application and a personal affidavit that affirms your gender identity (or the gender identity of the minor child, if submitted by a parent).
Two transgender teenagers playing video games.
Photo Credit: The Gender Spectrum Collection: Stock Photos Beyond the Binary
Prior to this change, corrected NYS birth certificates were limited to adults age 18 and older, and required a notarized letter from your doctor verifying that you had obtained "appropriate medical treatment" for your gender transition (which was unique to every individual).
This momentous change happened after years of advocacy by community leaders and attorneys across the state. The straw that broke the camel's back was a lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal in January 2020 on behalf of a transgender minor was born in Upstate New York but who now lives in Texas.
The new changes bring New York State closer in alignment with the policy in New York City -- since 2018 you could change your NYC-issued birth certificate regardless of your age, and can change to a non-binary "X" gender designation. Look here for more information about changing NYC-issued birth certificates.
We're not done yet! To date, an "X" marker is not yet available to people born in New York State but outside of New York City. For more information about how to help advocate for this next major change, contact Milo at (585) 612-1071 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.