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SRLP Commends New York City Council on Proposed Birth Certificate Policy

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 1970, 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 does not match current gender can often trigger bias, harassment, discrimination, or groundless accusations of fraud.

The Sylvia Rivera Law Project commends Council member Corey Johnson and the New York City Council for introducing important policy recommendations that seek to eliminate barriers faced by transgender New Yorkers seeking to access identity documents that affirm their gender without being forced to undergo invasive and often inaccessible surgeries.

“Without access to proper identity documents, transgender people in New York City are increasingly exposed to discrimination when trying to access employment, healthcare, public benefits, and housing,” says Alisha Williams, SRLP Staff Attorney and Prisoner Justice Project Director. “This step brings New York City closer to conformity with the current policies and best practices being adopted nationwide.”

To read more on the proposed NY City Council policy, visit:

To see SRLP’s work on birth certificates for transgender people since our founding in 2002, visit:

For media inquires, see

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