New York City Council Approves LGBT Bill in Support of Transgender People Wanting to Change Their Sex
On Monday, the New York City Council approved a bill that would allow transgender people to change their gender on birth certificates without previous medical transitioning. The bill would grant greater freedoms of identity to transgender people in the city.
The bill approved by the council would change the current requirement, which dates back to the 1970s, of proof that the person has transitioned to a different gender before asking to change their documents, according to MSNBC. States including California, Oregon, Vermont and Rhode Island, as well as the District of Columbia, have also removed the requirement for proof. The bill passed with a 39-4 vote with three abstentions.
Introduced by gay councilman Corey Johnson, the bill is expected to be signed into law by Democratic mayor Bill de Blasio. According to The Associated Press, the law will go into effect 45 days after being signed into law.
"This bill will help affirm the basic human rights of transgender New Yorkers and will go a long way in addressing disparities faced by transgender individuals," Democratic Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said.
In a statement following the vote, the City Council explained the previous requirement "effectively bars the vast majority of transgender New Yorkers who do not have sex reassignment surgery from amending their birth certificates."
Transgender advocacy groups greeted the Council's decision with praise, according to the Advocate.
Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, which sued the city in 2011 over three transgender people who could not change their documents, welcomed the vote.
"We are thrilled by the passage of this legislation," TLDEF executive director Michael Silverman said in a statement. "Today's action will dramatically improve the lives of transgender people born in New York City. We thank Councilmember Johnson, the City Council and the Board of Health for taking action. The city's policy served only to harm transgender people and they moved to change it. We also thank the many activists and advocates who have worked tirelessly to ensure that the city's harmful policy will be changed."