[guest post by Dana]
This month the American Medical Association opted to officially “modernize” its birth certificate policies and not require reassignment surgery in order to change an individual’s sex on their birth certificate. This is what modernization looks like:
The American Medical Association (AMA) adopted new policy supporting the elimination of any government requirement that an individual must have undergone surgery in order to change the sex indicated on a birth certificate.
Across the country, state laws governing changes to a person’s gender on a birth certificate is granted to applicants who change their sex by “surgical procedure” and provide a court order to that effect. Only a handful of states allow corrections to gender markers on birth certificates on the basis of “clinically appropriate treatment,” as opposed to surgery.
“Surgery shouldn’t be a requirement to align a person’s gender identity with their birth certificate,” said AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, M.D. “State laws must acknowledge that the correct course of treatment for any given individual is a decision that rests with the patient and their physician.”
The AMA rejected “gender affirmation surgery” as the guiding requirement for changing birth certificates as inconsistent with current medical standards. The new AMA policy also supports that any change of sex determination on an individual’s birth certificate must not hinder access to medically appropriate preventive care. Medical options for transgender people include a medically appropriate combination of mental health care, social transition, hormone therapy, in addition to the option of sex reassignment surgery.
It is assumed that the decision was made, at least in part, to the advocacy and claims from the transgender community :
Transgender people say they need IDs to accurately reflect their gender when they apply for jobs, travel and seek certain government services among other things.
There is no consensus on this issue from State lawmakers:
Just last week, New York State said it will no longer require transgender people to require proof of surgery when they attempt to change the gender on their birth certificates. But earlier this year, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed legislation that would have allowed those who had a clinical sex change to amend their gender on their birth certificate.
While historically, the AMA has been more progressive than lawmakers, this comes on the heels of the Medi-Care ban on sex reassignment surgeries being lifted, as well as President Obama recognizing Transgender Day Remembrance, and his recent comments made following a Department of Education action that designated an expanded view of protections under Title IX: [T]ransgender students can now “assert their rights.
Oh, and on a side note: last week the Obama administration quietly lifted its ban prohibiting health insurance carriers from covering transition-related care for transgender federal employees.
Of course, the debate will rage on as to whether a person’s gender can be changed by a piece of paper or even through sex reassignment surgery. Clearly though, the times
they are a-changin’ have changed.