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Big News!!! The State Department has removed the surgery requirement for passport gender marker changes. Starting June 10, “when a passport applicant presents a certification from an attending medical physician that the applicant has undergone appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition, the passport will reflect the new gender.” (see the full announcement here)

SRLP has been fighting to reduce medical evidentiary requirements, especially surgery requirements, in policies that determine trans people’s gender for purposes of ID and access to sex segregated facilities since our founding in 2002. These requirements keep trans people from getting ID that is important for employment and daily life, and are a particular barrier for low-income people who are less likely to have access to medical care. In 2006 we had a major victory in NYC’s Department of Homeless Services, winning a policy that requires the Department to place trans people according to self-identity rather than their previous practices of using birth gender or genitalia as the basis for placement. In 2004 we succeeded in our campaign to push the NYC Commission on Human Rights to create Compliance Guidelines for the City’s law against discrimination to clarify that forcing trans people to use sex-segregated facilities that do not comport with our self-identity is discriminatory. Last winter we supported TransJustice to get the NYC Human Resource Administration to approve their first-ever non-discrimination policy for trans and gendernonconforming indidviduals. We have been engaged in efforts since 2003 to change the rules regarding birth certificate gender marker change in New York City and New York State, aiming to remove the surgery requirements, and we have supported activists across the country in similar campaigns to eliminate surgery requirements in various state and local government agencies’ policies. All of these efforts will be bolstered by the State Department’s new policy. We are excited about this new win for trans communities as we continue in our efforts to reduce barriers to our survival and build a movement for racial and economic justice that pushes back against identity surveillance, state regulation of gender, and medicalization of trans identities.

Read the new policy here.

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