from Gender Identity Disorders
The original plan had been promoted by transgender activists who asserted that the action was needed because some "transgendered" individuals do not have money for a sex change operation.
According to a New York Times report (Nov. 7, 2006), the policy proposal comes after a four-year series of discussions among health officials and an eight-member panel of transgender experts. The Times notes: "It is an outgrowth of the transgender community's push for recognition that some people may not have money to get a sex-change operation, while others may not feel the need to undergo the procedure and are simply defining themselves as members of the opposite sex. While a radical notion elsewhere, New York has often tolerated such blurring of the lines of gender identity. The proposal also reflects how the transgender movement has become politically potent, having roots in the muscular politics of the city's gay rights movement."
City Health Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden noted: "Surgery versus non-surgery can be arbitrary. Somebody with a beard may have had breast-plant surgery. It's the permanence of the transition that matters most."
In December 2006, however, the city backed off the plan for further study. Law enforcement officials had pointed out the problems that would result in prisons if males who claimed to be females had to be housed with females. Frieden noted: "This is something we hadn't fully thought through, frankly. What the birth certificate shows dos have implications beyond just what the birth certificate shows."
The city, however, did approve the changing of birth certificates for transgender individuals.