One brave 14-year-old has helped secure gender recognition reform in New York state.
On Tuesday, it was announced New York will will no longer require medical evidence for gender recognition, and will recognise the legal gender of young transgender people for the first time.
The decision comes after Lambda Legal sued the state on behalf of a 14-year-old transgender boy, who was forced to have a female gender marker on his documents. Rather than fight the case, the state opted to amend its policies.
Trans kids will be allowed to change legal gender in New York
Under the new system outlined by New York Attorney General Letitia, trans kids will be permitted to correct the sex designation on their birth certificates in the state – in a change to previous law that restricted the process to over-18s.
Those aged under 16 can make the request for a correction to a birth certificate through their parents or legal guardian – while those aged 17 or over can do so themselves.
Trans people will no longer be required to provide medical affidavits to apply for legal recognition in the state under the new system, which comes into effect immediately.
Attorney General Letitia James said: “Thanks to the brave determination of this young man, New York State has made the right decision and changed its policy to allow minors to obtain birth certificates that accurately reflect their gender identity.
“Effective immediately, transgender individuals born in New York will have the right to make this deeply personal decision without the government’s unwarranted denial or without having their privacy violated.
“In New York State, we will not allow an outdated policy to stop us from providing every individual with equal dignity and respect.”
‘Every person should be recognised and respected for who they are.’
The young trans boy said of the decision: “This is awesome. Now all my identity paperwork matches, and I can go forward not having to worry about legal documents conflicting with who I am again. I get to just go on being me.”
His parents, Jennifer Wingard and Michael Sicinski, added: “This is the best possible outcome. We are glad that New York State is now committed to letting trans kids be who they are, fully and legally. ”
Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Senior Attorney at Lambda Legal and counsel for the lawsuit, said: “Every person should be recognised and respected for who they are. Today’s announcement is a victory for all transgender people in New York.
“The actions announced today rid the state of a discriminatory and outdated policy and keeps New York rightly among the states leading the country with policies that respect the lives of transgender people.
“It shouldn’t take a minor and his family suing the state to get their rights recognised, but with this announcement, New York State eliminates an outdated and unjust barrier to transgender minors’ ability to be themselves and have accurate, essential identity documents.”