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NY Senate Passes Senator Holyman’s Gender Recognition Act From Harlem To The Hudson

Harlem World Magazine

Today, the New York State Senate passed the Gender Recognition Act (S.4402-B/A.5465-D) sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell.

This will make it easier for transgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary and intersex New Yorkers to update and obtain government-issued identification documents that accurately reflect their gender identity.

Today, transgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary, and intersex New Yorkers face incredible difficulties in obtaining accurate identification documents that are key for accessing health care, employment, travel, housing, and education.

Senator Hoylman said:

“Each and every New Yorker should be recognized for who they are by their government. But today, it remains incredibly hard for many New Yorkers to get the identification documents they require for travel, to get a job, and even to go to school. This bill will change that, making it easier for gender non-conforming, transgender, non-binary, and intersex New Yorkers – including minors – to get IDs that accurately reflect their identity.

“I am thankful for the advocates in those communities for their input on this critical bill. And I’m proud to live in and represent a state that respects and values the needs of these communities – particularly as queer, and especially transgender people, have come under attack in recent months across our country.”

While accurate identification documents are key for obtaining health care, employment, travel, housing, and education, the National Transgender Survey found that among transgender New Yorkers:

  • Only 12% have been able to update all of their IDs,
  • 25% have been able to update some IDs
  • 63% have not been able to update any IDs

Today, once a name change order has been approved by a court, the petitioner must publish the name change at least once in a newspaper of record in that county within 60 days of the order. At a time of heightened violence against transgender Americans, outing oneself can be dangerous.

Judges in New York currently provide publication waivers at their own discretion, but this process lacks consistency and transparency. This bill does away with this risk by eliminating the publication requirement entirely.

In addition, this bill would do away with the current requirement for healthcare provider attestation in updating driver’s licenses.

This requirement is retrograde and can impose significant financial burdens on transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers.

Finally, this bill will codify recent administrative changes to ensure that transgender and gender non-conforming minors, with appropriate permission from their parents or legal guardians, have access to correct birth certificates.

The Gender Recognition Act was drafted and supported with substantial input from the transgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary and intersex community, including Arrowood Law, Brooklyn Law School’s LGBT Advocacy Clinic, The Center for Elder Law & Justice, Empire Justice Center, EQNY, Gender Equality New York (GENY), GMHC, Lambda Legal, Latino Justice PRLDEF, Law Office of Milo Primeaux, Legal Services Staff Association #2320, The LGBT Center, Make the Road NY, Law Office of Milo Primeaux, The New Pride Agenda, New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG), New York Social Action, New York State Gender Diversity Coalition (NYSGDC), New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG), The Peter Cicchino Youth Project of the Urban Justice Center, The Phyllis B. Frank Pride Center of Rockland County, Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, Pride for Youth, SAGE, Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Transgender Law Center, Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF), TransLatinx Network, Western NY Law Center, Youth Represent.

Originally published in Harlem World Magazine on June 8, 2021.

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