Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) today applauded a decision by the American Medical Association (AMA) to support access to accurate birth certificates for transgender people.

In Chicago at their annual meeting, the AMA’s House of Delegates passed a resolution to support state policies allowing transgender individuals to change the sex designation on their birth certificates based upon a physician’s verification of the person’s transition. The resolution reads:

That our American Medical Association support policies that allow for a change of sex designation on birth certificates for transgender individuals based upon verification by a physician that the individual has undergone transition according to applicable medical standards of care.

“Having identity documents that accurately reflect one’s gender identity is a critical issue for transgender people in their everyday lives,” said Lee Swislow, Executive Director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. “Birth certificates that misrepresent gender put people at risk for discrimination, violence, and negative health care experiences and outcomes.”

The AMA’s support will be critical in ongoing efforts to urge individual states to modernize their standards for changing a person’s sex designation on birth certificates, many of which require individuals to undergo surgery before being able to change their sex marker on their birth certificates.

Such outdated surgical requirements are no longer consistent with the current medical standard of care for transgender individuals undergoing medical transition, which recognizes the importance of individualized treatment and gender transition based on the person’s needs and medical history and need not include any specific medical treatment, including surgery.