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Transgender teen sues state of New York for refusing to let him correct his birth certificate

Emma Powys Maurice January 8, 2020
Lawsuit

The boy is concerned mismatched identity documents could cause problems when he applies for a driving permit (Envato Elements)

A 14-year-old transgender boy is suing the state of New York as he is unable to change the sex listed on his birth certificate.

Identified in the lawsuit by the initials MHW, the high schooler currently lives in Houston, Texas, where he began hormone replacement therapy in September. He has been able to change his name, passport and Social Security card to reflect his gender.

However, his birth certificate remains female because he was born in Ithaca, and the state of New York does not allow minors to change their birth certificates.

Represented by Lambda Legal, he has filed a federal lawsuit in Albany arguing that the discriminatory policy should be changed to bring the laws in line with other states.

Elsewhere in the US, including New York City, underage transgender people are already allowed to change their documentation. The state of New York has allowed people over the age of 18 to change their birth certificates without needing to undergo gender confirmation surgery since 2014.

The lawsuit warns that New York’s current rules could compel transgender minors outside of New York City to reveal “private and sensitive information” about themselves when they enrol in school or seek a job.

“This is really just wanting for our son the same recognition that any other kid has, that most kids just take for granted, that most parents take for granted,” co-plaintiff Michael Sicinski, the boy’s father, told The Associated Press.

His mother is concerned that the mismatched identity documents could mean her son will face anxiety-provoking problems next year when he applies for a learner’s driving permit.

She explained that he has already been humiliated by having to explain to the Transportation Security Agency why the name on his plane ticket did not match his gender on official records.

If his lawsuit is successful it could impact an estimated 9,750 transgender teens aged 13-17 in New York state.

More: birth certificate, federal lawsuit, gender markers, New York

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