The Department of Health has a proposal on the table to make it easier for transgender New Yorkers to amend the sex on their birth certificates, potentially waiving the current requirements for convertive surgery as well as court-ordered name changes.

“For some transgender individuals, convertive surgery is either not an option due to the individual’s medical history or simply not desired,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said in a statement. “We’re proud to propose this change to ensure New Yorkers have birth records that reflect their gender. The action under consideration will mean that transgender people no longer have to change their bodies to change their gender identity. And the process would be simple and accessible.”

In addition to the proposal from DOH, City Councilman Corey Johnson introduced similar legislation, which would formally amend the language in the administrative code.

“Having such a critical document that correctly reflects your gender identity is a basic human right that too many transgender people have been denied for far too long,” he said in a statement. “Practically speaking, these measures will transform the lives of transgender individuals in so many ways that other people take for granted—from accessing government benefits and health coverage, to getting a job and using appropriate facilities."

Passage of the proposal would allow any number of healthcare professionals—from doctors to counselors and nurse practitioners—to issue an affirmation or affidavit enabling the change. This sign-off would replace the requirement for proof of surgery.

According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, eight out of ten transgender women and nine out of ten transgender men have not undergone convertive surgery.