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New York Birth Certificates

Since the Sylvia Rivera Law Project opened our doors in 2002, we have been at the forefront of the battle to make birth certificate changes more accessible to transgender people. Since 1971, New York City and State’s rules for a person changing their gender on their birth certificate had been very restrictive, requiring extensive evidence of invasive surgeries that many transgender people do not undergo–whether for financial, health, or personal reasons. Without a birth certificate accurately reflecting their current gender, trans people can face serious obstacles in accessing employment, housing, services, and other identity documents. Having documentation that doesn’t match current gender can often trigger bias, harassment, discrimination, or groundless accusations of fraud.

The materials linked below further document the history of SRLP’s work on this issue, and may be helpful to activists working on similar issues elsewhere. Read about some of our work here:

SRLP’s Work on Birth Certificates

December 8, 2014: New York City Council voted to pass legislation that removes the surgical requirements for transgender people born in New York City to correct the gender markers on their birth certificates.

October-November 2014: New York City Council proposed a policy that will allow transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificate without undergoing surgery. SRLP participates in public hearings with City Council on 11/10/14 and the Department of Health on 11/17/14. Read City Council’s proposed policy regarding transgender birth certificates here.

June 2014: New York State updated its birth certificate policy updated its birth certificate policy to allow transgender New Yorkers to change the gender marker on their birth certificate without undergoing surgery. While a positive step in our work to increase access to identity documents for trans people, this policy excludes people born in New York City, youth, and people in prison. Learn more here.

December 2006: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene withdrew a proposed amendment to the Health Code that would have given access to accurate birth certificates to many transgender people. Read More

October 2006: Proposed changes to New York City’s birth certificate policy:

2002-2003: Below are the letters we sent to DOHMH, which may be useful to you if you are doing similar advocacy in your city or state.


SRLP News about Birth Certificates