Transgender men and women will be better able to reflect their identity on their Social Security records following a ruling by the Social Security Administration (SSA), Think Progress reported on Friday.
The SSA's new policy will now allow a person to change their gender listing if they provide either a state-issued document like a court order, passport or birth certificate reflecting their accurate gender, or a letter from a physician certifying that the person has undergone "appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition."
Previously, changes to gender identity records required applicants to provide proof of reassignment surgery.
"This is a tremendous victory for our community," Transgender Law Center legal director Ilona Turner said in a statement. "The Social Security Administration was one of the last agencies to hold onto an outdated, one-size-fits-all standard for gender change. Transgender people will now be able to change all their federal documents with a simple letter from their doctor recognizing that they have undergone the appropriate treatment for them."
In a separate statement to Metro Weekly, Mara Keisling, president of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said that though the small records change will have a big impact.
"All information for Medicare comes from Social Security, including the gender marker on the Medicare card," Keisling said in her statement. "If you are not able to change your gender marker on your Social Security account, your gender marker is going to be messed up in other places. Until today, we've had to fix each program one at a time."
The Advocate reported that the SSA also issued a directive to employees stressing the use of appropriate pronouns when helping transgender clients, as well as maintaining confidentiality.
"This new policy is in line with how transgender people live their lives and is in line with the medical community's consensus on when a person's gender should be recognized," National Gay and Lesbian Task Force executive director Rea Carey said in a statement.
[Image: "Stock Photo: Social Security Card And Money Concept" via Shutterstock.com]