I know what you’re thinking. “Simon, you’re a guy.” And I tend to agree with you. All my dingily dangles confirm to me that I am indeed male. But according to a proposed new rule being considered by the Board of Health in New York City I could actually be a woman.

The rule will let New Yorkers change the sex on their birth certificates without going through the inconvenience of actually changing their bodies. This has been greeted as good news by America’s growing transgender community which argues that gender is more complex than genitals and that some people simply don’t have the money to have sex-reassignment surgery. At the recent final public hearing about the proposed rule various advocates and transsexuals suggested that commonly held definitions of gender, in particular its reliance on medical assessments, should be set aside in favor of a more open minded view of what defines a persons gender.

But for a Steve to become a Steph there will still need to be a number of steps before he can legally consider himself a new woman. Affidavits from a doctor as well as a mental health professional will need to be provided explaining why their patients should be considered members of the opposite sex. For this to happen Steve will need to have lived as Steph for at least two years, plus he will be required to legally change his too.

Speaking for the New York Transgender Rights Organization 52 year old lawyer, Joann Prinzivalli, called the new rule progress and was encouraged that New York was playing a significant part in changing America’s misguided fixation on genitals as the basis of a persons gender identity. “It’s based on an arbitrary distinction that says there are two and only two sexes,” said Ms Prinzivalli who has lived as a woman for the last six years.

The rule looks almost certain to be passed in December and will put New York state among a small number of states that already do not require surgery for an individual to request their gender be changed on their birth certificate.

New York Plans to Make Gender Personal Choice
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