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AMA advises surgery should not be a requirement for birth certificate changes

Monday, June 9, 2014
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CHICAGO — The American Medical Association on Monday said transgender people should be able to switch the sex designation on their birth certificates without having sex-change surgery.

AMAMost states make the operations a prerequisite, but a new AMA policy acknowledges that gender identity doesn’t always match a person’s birth anatomy.

An AMA report says identification documents that are consistent with gender identity rather than anatomy is essential to basic social and economic functioning.

The report also says patients deserve medical care that is appropriate to their birth anatomy even if they self-identify as the opposite sex.

The new policy, adopted at the AMA’s annual meeting in Chicago, won praise from the National Center for Transgender Equality.

“The AMA’s support for eliminating surgery requirements to update their birth certificate will send a strong message to states that lag behind on these policies,” Mara Keisling, the group’s executive director, said in written statement. “Currently only five states and the District of Columbia have modernized their policies to make it clear that surgery is not required to update a birth certificate.

“Transgender people should not be required to have any specific, costly medical treatments in order to carry the accurate and consistent ID we all need to function every day in the United States.”

The AMA’s five-day meeting includes Tuesday’s swearing-in of a new AMA president, Dr. Robert Wah. He is 56 and a reproductive specialist in McLean, Virginia.

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