It’s a fascinating case from a legal perspective. What makes you a man or a woman? And who gets to decide – you, your doctor or the state? You could argue, as NY city does, that you have to have “the operation” first. But imagine it from a transgender person’s perspective: You live your life as a woman, haven’t had “the surgery,” go to the airport, hand the TSA guy your ID that says you’re a man, and then the fun starts. The article walks through other scenarios.
Born Paul Prinzivalli Jr., she says she knew her true identity was female by the time she was 4 and broached the subject with a mental-health adviser as a teenager. But it was decades before she bucked family expectations and social pressures, changed her name and underwent electrolysis and hormone treatment to make a change that cost Prinzivalli her spouse, family, home and job.
About 10 years later, she’s still a man in one important context: on her birth certificate. She’s been unable to change the gender listed on the document because of city rules that she and some other transgender people call discriminatory, intrusive and out of step with recent moves by the federal government and some states to make it easier for transgender people to change ID documents.
They are contesting a city Health Department practice of requiring people to undergo genital surgery and a post-surgery psychiatric evaluation before changing the gender on their birth certificates, according to the lawsuits. Many transgender people can’t have that surgery for medical or financial reasons, and having hormone or other treatment to change gender should be enough, the plaintiffs say.