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City Sued Over Transgender Birth Certificate Rule

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Sam Berkley, Joann Prinzivallia and Patricia Harrington (Photo/Stan Brooks)

Sam Berkley, Joann Prinzivallia and Patricia Harrington (Photo/Stan Brooks)

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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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

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