The American Medical Association has called on states to stop requiring trans people to undergo surgery before recognising their legal gender.

Laws governing legal gender changes vary between state to state, but the majority stipulate people must undergo “surgical procedures” before recognition, including forced sterilisation.

According to the AMA, in only a handful of states is the requirement for a birth certificate amendment listed as “clinically appropriate treatment”, which allows for recognition of trans people who have not yet had, are not able to have, or do not want to have surgery.

AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven said: “Surgery shouldn’t be a requirement to align a person’s gender identity with their birth certificate.

“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.

“Depending on what gender is recorded in these records, certain treatments, screening and procedures may be disallowed, despite the fact that best medical practices require adequate screening and treatment of a person, regardless of the person’s gender identity or gender transition.

“The AMA seeks to ensure that transgender patients always receive appropriate preventive care regardless of whether or not it matches with the gender on the birth certificate.”

Last week, Denmark removed the requirement that trans people be sterilised before they were eligible to be recognised as their preferred gender.

Earlier this month, the World Health Organisation has urged for an end to the forced sterilisation of transgender and intersex people around the globe.

n the UK, the Gender Recognition Act requires applicants to have transitioned two years before a legal change of gender is recognised.

There is no technical requirement for sterilisation or reassignment surgery, but it is accepted as part of the supporting evidence.