New York is undoubtedly among the champions in advocating transgender rights. However, the problems still arise when it comes to minors. The state laws allow changing gender if only the applicant is 18+. At the same time the state’s population of transgender teens amounts to 10k and continues growing. It remains unclear how these minors could be protected against gender-based discrimination as well as from other risks related to gender identity disclosure especially when dealing with government offices. The problem needs an immediate solution but how to comply with existing state legislation?
Luckily, the remedy is being developed with a brave 14-year old plaintiff who filed the case against the state. The transgender boy who preferred not disclose his name was born Ithaca and is currently attending high school in Houston, Texas. He claims for the right of changing gender in his birth certificate, the right that adult state residents has enjoyed since 2014. The situation is about to become even more complicated as the plaintiff succeeded in changing his gender for a number of documents including passport and social security. With the birth certificate identifying him as a girl transgender boy may face difficulties when applying for driver permit very soon. Moreover, he has already suffered from a given gender mismatch while boarding the domestic flight.
The boy is backed by both his family and local LGBTQ advocating organizations also participating in this case. “I am a boy. It’s frustrating to see New York State deny me the opportunity to correct my birth certificate, which I need for so many important facets of my life,” reads his statement. “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,” adds the boy's father. Lambda Legal representing the plaintiff outlines other related concerns. “Studies show that having inaccurate identification documents exposes transgender people to discrimination, harassment and violence," he said in a statement. "Moreover, transgender minors suffer from higher levels of anxiety, depression and suicide rates when they don’t have a supportive environment," reads its statement.
The lawsuit is currently under review at the Governor's office. “We are deeply sympathetic to the situation as it has been described to us and are reviewing this lawsuit,” said Peter Ajemian from the Governor’s office. Thousands of transgender teens and their parents keep an eye on the case and are waiting for their basic rights to be granted.