City Sued Over Transgender Birth Certificate Rule

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Some transgendered people say New York City is making it too difficult for them to change their birth certificates to reflect the people they have become.

The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund said Tuesday that the city is being unfair and intrusive by requiring people to undergo genital surgery before changing the gender on their birth certificates. 

Sam Berkley tells 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks that he just wants to move on with his life

The group says many transgender people can’t have that surgery, and undergoing hormone or other treatment to change gender should be enough.

Sam Berkley, 30, charges in his lawsuit that the requirements are unfair and discriminatory.

“I don’t feel comfortable with the government deciding whether I’m a man or not,” Berkley said. “I’ve submitted medical documentation from my doctor and that should be enough. I’m likely to experience discrimination and harassment every time I show my uncorrected birth certificate.”

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb talks with one person who can’t have the surgery

Joann Prinzivalli, formerly known as Paul, said it’s upsetting to live as a female but have your birth certificate identify you as male.

“I would very much liked to have had the surgery but due to adverse health conditions I am medically unable,” Prinzivalli said. “As a result, the Health Department will not correct my birth certificate despite the fact that I have submitted medical documentation that I am medically transitioned to female.”

Last week, a transgender man raised similar complaints in a lawsuit filed Friday.

Health officials considered changing the policy in 2006 but decided not to.

City lawyers say officials are trying to make sure there are checks on changing an important identity document, but the suit charges the Health Department as violating the New York City human rights law.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More from Stan Brooks In Memoriam
  • HUGO

    Just stamp SHEMALE on the birth certificate and problem solved. Where is Obama’s birth certificate by the way?

  • Lisa


    Thanks. :)


      You are very welcome :), thank you very much as well. It is nice to see that other people care in this world :)


        btw, one of my e-mails is (I am not a creepy stalker/pedo xD, although sadly there are a lot of those in the world, so if I never hear from you then I can totally understand, better safe than sorry), I would love to talk more(once again, not creepily(im a straight semi-young girl :P, no worries there) but most of my friends and I don’t agree on these subjects, it would be nice to talk to someone who did.

  • MJC

    And this is a big deal exactly why?

    I am 37 years old and have had to show my birth certificate exactly TWICE…once to the DMV and once to get my passport.

    By the way the story made it sound you would think that this person was showing his/her birth cert. Hundreds of times a day…

  • VP

    It takes courage to face the world as ourselves and not be bullied by the ignorant or the misguided, who feel they have the right to declare how you must live.

    “I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.”**

    This applies to everyone, Remember this before you pass judgement upon others.

    ** from Invictus by William Er4nest Henley

  • h

    Respect your fellow man.
    Agree to disagree on your opinions of nature v. nurture or religion or morals because civil rights are INCLUSIVE. It is simple as that.

  • rodin

    Choose to accept that after a baby’s birth, he/she becomes a person. How he/she chooses to live his/her lifestyle is his/her business. How you choose to accept/reject that person’s choice is a sign of your mature understanding in diversity. Give a person space, respect the person’s right to live his’her own life-and he/she will respect your maturity as a considerate neighbor.

  • peg

    Come on, like a changed birth certificate is gonna do anything. Look at that picture. You think anyone is gonna have a hard time knowing that is a MAN??

  • Borracho Toledo

    GROSS!!!…lost my appetite…..

  • Frank D

    Why NOT LEAVE IT BLANK- the the kid decide later.

    This whole re-write of history is so stupid.

  • just the facts

    If you have an XX chromosome you are female, whatever you “feel” or “think. If you have an XY chromosome, you are male. THESE ARE SCIENTIFIC FACTS! Just because you “feel ” a certain way, it does not change genetic fact! Wise up!

    • AnonToo

      What about people who are XXY, or XO or one of the many other variations of chromosomes that occur in humans besides just XX or XY? The “fact” is that sex is not as binary as we think and is not always clear (even in the case of people who ARE XX or XY). Gender, as a related BUT different concept, is even more complicated. Consider us “wised up!”

    • gus3

      No, the genetics of the 23rd chromosome pair are only the beginning. There are all kinds of other influences, some environmental, some genetic, that affect the final expression of a person’s sex. A good example is androgen insensitivity syndrome, in which a genetic male develops female anatomical features.

      How about a person with XXY, or XO (only one X chromosome, receiving neither X nor Y from the father)? Are these male, female, both, none, what?

      Your “scientific” knowledge is only good for justifying your own prejudices. Too bad for you, that you are a perfect example of why the Internet can’t be trusted for facts.

    • gus3

      No, the genetics of the 23rd chromosome pair are only the beginning. There are all kinds of other influences, some environmental, some genetic, that affect the final expression of a person’s sex. A good example is androgen insensitivity syndrome, in which a genetic male develops female anatomical features.

      How about a person with XXY, or XO (only one X chromosome, receiving neither X nor Y from the father)? Are these male, female, both, none, what?

      Your “scientific” knowledge is only good for justifying your own prejudices. Too bad for you, that you are a perfect example of why the Internet can’t be trusted for facts.

  • bill

    I dont have a problem changing the birth cirtificate AFTER the surgery is performed. Until then they still have the same sex that was on the form at birth.

    • h

      which specific surgery are you referring to?

  • KMM

    This is what I think (which I’m sure doesn’t matter much)…staple a new Birth Certificate to the old with the day you became the sex that you feel you are..the original should always stay the same. ??? maybe???


      YES! maybe then everyone can just be happy and stay out of others lives.

    • kmm

      I feel that it would just be another way to open up issues with fraud

    • Keith

      I like it. The original, and the changed certificate…which would precisely replicate the actual situation. Two thumbs up.



    • AnonToo

      You are correct, current medical guidelines for treatment of individuals diagnosed with GID do include medications, counseling and surgery. Unfortunately, just like many people who have chronic health problems, the cost of treatment is often prohibitive and has a variety of ramifications for their lives. I think that’s what this story is pointing out.

  • Nora

    I feel bad for the transgendered that cannot have the genital switch surgery. God loves us all just the same. I am sure this birth cert issue is only really affecting a handful of transgendered persons, I think the state should just let them change it. Does it really matter to the rest of us??

    • mfinley80

      Nora, I’m happy to see there are people who have a live and let live attitude. However, the issue affects every transgendered person. All of them. The birth certificate is used to determine sex at birth (some times erroneously), there after every social dealing is wrapped in the stigmas of binary (either, male or female) existence. Employers do background checks, background checks involve birth certificate verification, employment gets denied. Driver’s license and identification cards rely on and reflect information obtained from birth certificates. Hotels, car rental companies, banks, insurance agencies and other businesses require identification cards and many have there after denied services to transgender individuals. Indiana is the only state that has the right idea: NO Sex Designation on ANY Birth Certificate

  • Pat

    I’d like to sue trangenders for confusing and tying up the court system and wasting the city’s money!

    • VP

      Somehow I get the feeling you’d have a different POV if this was your problem.

      It’s always easy to make snap decisions like yours when you really don’t fully understand the situation.

  • s.s.

    It is a BIRTH certificate. It SHOULD state what gender you are at BIRTH. Stop it…already ….

    • Lisa

      Exactly, S.S. And if your SEX is male but your GENDER is female, you should be allowed to FIX your birth certificate and change it from male to female. Thanks for making my argument.


      • molech

        hahaheheh what a joke. i have no beef with transgenders and their fight to be accepted for who they think they are. but do we need to be ridiculous in explaining such a serious issue?. Sex male, Gender Female. what the hell does this mean?

  • gianni

    You obviously came into this world with an inclination towards prejudice. Please stop offending God and overcome that. Who are you to profess to know what Gods plan is for an individual? Start demonstrating Gods love and stay out of other peoples business.

    ps. I can do whatever I want with my body

    • Lady Kk

      Offending God? lol…. I think it is more offending to take what God made and change it. Men changing to women will still have adam’s apples.

  • All The Same

    Just because we are all seemingly free to believe what we want and live our lives the way we see fit does not mean that WE SHOULD. I believe that SOME people are born attracted to the other sex BUT I also believe that it is a perversion ie, something that one SHOULD not do because you know that it is wrong and goes against nature. The world of psychology will label anything and make it a clinical issue. A person that believes he or she is in the wrong body has a mental issue (chemical imbalance) that should not be fixed with surgery.

    Although Gays/Transgenders hate the comparison, their perversion is equally to that of a person that is attracted to children or animals. I am sure those persons did not just wake up one day and think to themselves to endeavour in such for acts without feeling some deep, uncontrolable urge that they would say they were born with. Born with or not, we choose to do better than the part of our nature that can commit awful acts. We each are born with deep urges that we surpress everyday to function in society.

    • gianni

      all the same
      I am transgendered and have absolutely no inclination towards children or animals. Do any of you people even know someone that is transgendered? I thought I was a boy for as long as I can remember. In fact, when my dad told me I was a girl, I started crying. I was five years old and I remember it like it was yesterday. Contrary to popular belief, NO ONE would just suddenly decide to be this way.

      • Lady Kk

        You were influenced by your environment and the mass media. I can’t believe it took your parents 5 years to tell you you were a girl.


        Lady Kk: you have obviously never met someone who is transgendered. Don’t speak on matter of which you have no idea about.


        Lady Kk: you have obviously never met someone who is transgendered. Don’t speak on matters of which you have no idea about.

    • AnonToo

      All the same,

      You are certainly entitled to believe whatever you want about other people’s sex/gender/sexuality/etc. There is, however, a difference between beliefs and values and logic and scientific fact (thank goodness for this, beliefs would be pretty meaningless if they were 100% proven). However, when you start using your beliefs or values to inform facts (for example, since you believe something is immoral, it is an unnatural, chemical imbalance) then people will want to argue with you because you’ve overstepped your bounds. That being said, please feel free to engage in as much philosophizing about what is perverse or not perverse based upon your personal moral guidelines. However, please don’t then use those to determine what causes something on a biogical level.

      Speaking of chemicals and biology, our body is full of neurotransmitters and hormones throughout our entire lives. These influence the development of our physical body (and our sex) even before we are born. Not that I believe it matters since morally I don’t have a problem with trans folk, BUT, let’s say someone like you does… what if this very same “chemical imbalance” occurred so young that it caused someone’s brain and body to be of opposing sex/gender prior to them even developing into adults. You can’t go back in time and alter this “chemical imbalance” so it would seem surgery might actually be appropriate. Just sayin’.

    • Lisa

      All The Same – Did you ever think that God is testing your tolerance and you are FAILING miserably?

      • Frank D

        Why do you assume it’s God doing the testing? Simply because you agree?


      Yet another religious idiot who can’t stay out of others lives. Being gay/transgenders and being a pedophile are two VERY different things. It is incredibly offensive and ignorant to make that comparison.

    • h

      Do you have citations for any of the information provided above? Because nothing here nor in many other comments contain legal arguments to support their contentions. This is not an issue of nature v. nurture, ethics, opinions, beliefs, definitions of perversion or rhetoric. It’s about civil rights. You can think it’s unnatural or perverted or even a mental health issue, but everyone should still be afforded the same rights as everyone else. And that is the bottom line.


      Yet another religious idiot who can’t stay out of others lives. Being gay/transgenders and being a pedophile are two VERY different things. It is incredibly offensive and ignorant to make that comparison.

  • Anon

    I would like to officially be listed as a cat on my birth certificate. I have convinced my doctor that I was really supposed to be born a cat and I think I have the right to be a cat if I want and no one can tell me otherwise.

    HAHAHAHAHA, what a a bunch of bull, I can’t believe this is even being discussed, what a waste of time

    • AnonToo

      If you’ve already convinced your doctor you’re a cat, I suggest you find a new doctor. For those people posting on this thread who are basing their comments on actual scientific findings, they already know that the (ethically complex) criteria for a trans (GID) diagnosis are based on decades of behavioral, surgical and neuropsychological research on causes and outcomes. While my replying to this post is most likely a legitimate waste of time… perhaps the next go-around Anon or someone else may actually inform themselves prior to determining something to be “bull.”

  • Lisa

    pugphan – Do you think if you are born with some kind of medical deformity, are blind, deaf, or have some other illness that can be remedied, that you shouldn’t, because God made you that way?

    steven – Until you have lived in the shoes of a transgender person, you have no right to say what you said. Gender and sex are NOT the same thing.

    And I am not transgender, fyi.

    • BigEz

      I can’t believe how ridiculous your comments are!!
      You can’t compare some poor person who was born blind with some freak that doesn’t know their a## from their elbow!!

      • Lisa

        BigEz, I feel sorry for you. I can’t believe how ignorant your comments are…

        And I don’t think a blind person would like to be called “poor”.


        OH GROW UP! you can’t control other peoples lives. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU! Lisa is simply defending these people who have done nothing wrong and you so called god loving/fearing people are not very tolerant of others.WHAT HAPPENED TO LOVE THY NEIGHBOR HUH???!!

      • VP


        Your ignorance is only surpassed by your lack of compassion for others. What a miserable life you must lead.

    • jestah

      The sex you are at birth and illnesses cannot be compared because illnesses are a result of the blood, sex isn’t. No one should have the right to change their sex on birth certificate.

      • Lisa

        Can you even comprehend what it might feel like to feel like your gender and your sex don’t match up? Do you get that? And if you are going to live your life as a man when you were born a female or vice versa, regardless of whether you can afford the surgery to match your sex to your gender, you shouldn’t have to deal with questions when your birth certificate doesn’t match. Life is hard enough. Have a little compassion. I don’t get ignorant people.


        don’t post comments like this. You are as ignorant as the rest of them.

      • se

        It’s not a life certificate, it’s a birth certificate. They were born a male or female. How you choose to live every day after that and what feelings you identify more with as you mature has nothing to do with the sex organs you were given upon birth.

        My driver’s license says I’m 5’6″ but I’ve always felt like I’m taller than that. The government should have no right to tell me that I’m not 6 ft. They have so little compassion and don’t understand how it hurts my feelings terribly when I’m considered shorter than the average man. Also, I have brown eyes, but it seems that people with blue or green eyes have an advantage in getting hired and meeting people. I also want to change that on my driver’s license and all forms of identification because when people see my license they immediately discriminate against me.

  • steven

    if you have a weiner you’re a man, if you have a vagina you are woman.
    cant we just leave it at that.
    If you want to be a chick officailly, then commit and remove the talus. Otherwise you are as you were born according to the state.
    Otherwise, become president of the USA and you wont ever have to show you even have a birthcertificate.
    Enough BS already.

  • pugphan

    This nation of supposedly God fearing peeps is fast going to hell. Look at the divine justice we’re suffering, Katrina, 911, aids, the economy, war, and even famine, floods, fire and ice this past winter. Truly sounds like the four horsemen of the apocalypse have come and are doing their jobs. Wake up y’all stop offending God! Peep come into the world with all kinds of inclinations, but we’re supposed to overcome them, not give into them. You are what ever you have between your legs when you’re born by diving will. You have no right what so ever to change that. smokersodysseycom

    • God


      Please shut your pie-hole. You friggin’ moron.


        god(notice the lowercase d xD) has it right. Nothing I can add to that except that you are so ignorant and indoctrinated it isn’t even funny. I think that we should be worrying about the abusive priests your religion defends before you start on these people who aren’t deserving of your hate.

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