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Transgender Lawsuit 1

Transgender Lawsuit 1

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Published by Celeste Katz

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Published by: Celeste Katz on Mar 22, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/02/2012

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SUPREME
COURT
OF THE STATE
OF
NEW
YORK
COUNTY
OF
NEW
YORK
--------------------------------------x
SAM BERKLEY,Petitioner,-against-THOMAS FARLEY
in
his official capacity asHEALTH COMMISSIONER OF THE CITY OF
NEW
YORK,
NEW
YORK CITY BUREAU OFVITAL STATISTICS,
NEW
YORK CITY OFFICEOF VITAL RECORDS,
NEW
YORK CITY BOARDOFHEALTH,
NEW
YORK CITY DEPARTMENTOF HEALTH AND MENTAL HYGIENE, and THECITY OF
NEW
YORK,Respondents.
--------------------------------------x
Index No.
400115
Joo
II
I
VERIFIED
PETITION
./
i
f
I
!
{
 
Petitioner Sam Berkley, by his undersigned attorneys, as his verified petition againstrespondents Thomas Parley in his official capacity as Health Commissioner
of
the City
of
NewYork (the "Commissioner"), the New York City Bureau
of
Vital Statistics (the "Bureau"), theNew York City Office
of
Vital Records (the "Office"), the
New
York City Board
of
Health (the"Board
of
Health"), the New York City Department
of
Health and Mental Hygiene (the "HealthDepartment"), and the City
of
New
York (the "City") (collectively, "Respondents"), alleges asfollows:
I.
INTRODUCTION
1.
This proceeding concerns the ability
of
a trans gender person to obtain a birthcertificate with information that conforms to his correct sex. This case also concerns the extentto which an administrative agency can disregard its statutory duties and the carefullYTeachedrecommendations
of
its
own
committee
of
experts in order to bow to po1iticai:pressure andcontroversy from a small number
of
individuals motivated
by
animus toward the trans gendercommunity. Petitioner further challenges a set
of
discriminatory policies that impose far moreonerous requirements
on
transgender persons seeking to correct their birth ·certificates than onnon-trans gender persons seeking to do
so.
2. A birth certificate is a crucial form
of
identification. Birth certificates areroutinely required: to apply for public benefits, such as food stamps, SociaSecurity retirementbenefits and disability benefits or Medicaid; to obtain professional certifications; to obtaindriver's licenses and passports; to demonstrate eligibility to work; to register for school; to obtainaccess to public facilities, such as homeless shelters; to obtain a gun permit; to adopt a child; andin countless other situations.
 
3. For trans gender persons, the sex designated
on
their original birth certificates isnot an accurate reflection
of
their sex. Transgender persons seek to live in accordance with thesex that takes proper account
of
the sex
of
their brain -an immutable, intrinsic sense
of
beingphysically male
or
female rather than the sex incorrectly ascribed to them at birth. This mayinvolve socially transitioning from one sex to the other
or
physically changing their primary orsecondary sex characteristics.
4.
Presenting their original birth certificates to others raises a set
of
serious problemsfor trans gender persons because the sex designated
on
their original birth certificates is incorrectand does not match their lived sex or appearance.
5.
This mismatch may lead to embarrassment, humiliation, discrimination,accusations
of
fraud, denial
of
services, harassment
or
even violence. Among other problems,transgender persons are denied
jobs
when they cannot produce birth certificates with sexdesignations that match their lived sex. In these and many other Situations, trans gender personsface pervasive dangers merely
by
virtue
of
presenting a birth certificate with an incorrect sexdesignation.
6.
It
is therefore imperative that trans gender persons be able to correct their originalbirth certificates so that the sex designation matches their lived sex. In recognition
of
this, therelevant city agencies have issued corrected birth certificates to trans gender persons for fortyyears.
7.
In those forty years, the medical, scientific, legal, and psychologicalunderstandings
of
trans gender persons have progressed substantially. The mainstream view
of
these communities no longer equates sex with chromosomes
or
genitalia alone. Rather, it is nowaccepted that a person's sex is determined by a host
of
factors, including chromosomes, gonads2

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