The 21st century has been an era of change, especially within the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities. Equality is of utmost importance to these groups, and it seems as if New York City agrees.
The City Council and the de Blasio administration are supporting what officials and activists are calling one of the nation’s most progressive legal proposals relating to transgender rights, as reported in The New York Times. If approved, the change will potentially redefine the role of sex and gender in American society, an issue particularly important to transgender individuals.
The proposal would allow individuals to change the sex on their birth certificates, with the support of a health care official, based solely on their identity, not their anatomy. For many transgender and intersex individuals struggling with identity issues, this law is life changing.
It is not clear how this decision will affect Stony Brook University, as the campus LGBT Alliance said they are “not able to comment on this development or its impact on a person’s ability to legally transition.” It is anticipated, however, that this development will, to an extent, have some impact on the campus because of its proximity to the city.
Although society may have difficulty accepting individuals who do not necessarily conform to sex and gender norms, these individuals are just as entitled as the rest of us to feel comfortable in their own skin and to have the right to live their life the way they see fit. If living their lives to the fullest involves them identifying as a gender other than what their biological sex suggests, I do not see a reason for stopping them.
Under the Declaration of Independence, all people in the United States are entitled to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” If someone’s pursuit of happiness leads them to identify with a different sex then their biology suggests, are we really in the right to stop them?
I do not think so, and apparently, neither do officials in California, Vermont, Oregon and Washington, states that have already passed laws with similar guidelines. Although New York State currently allows changes to birth certificates on the basis of psychological identity and without reconstructive surgery, New York City is a different story. However, it may not be for long.
The city’s proposal is sponsored by Councilman Corey Johnson, who said that under the bill, “your gender becomes less about your physicality and more about how you live as a human being.”
If the bill is truly designed to promote the lives of human beings, then why would any human being oppose it?
Just as women are treated as equal to men, transgendered people should be treated as equal to those who are non-transgendered. This proposed law is about equality and society’s acceptance of transgender people. To continue to mend the division between male and female sexes and to change the American culture toward transgender, gay, lesbian and bisexual people, the acceptance of this law is essential in New York City.