Transgender Judicial Candidate Claims First Place

June 10, 2010

by Matthew S. Bajko | Bay Area Reporter

Transgender judicial candidate Victoria Kolakowski came in first in her historic bid for a seat on the Alameda County Superior Court in Tuesday’s primary. She now advances to a fall runoff election and is one step closer to being the first out transgender person elected as a trial court judge in the country’s history.

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Federal Health Panel Considers Allowing Gay Men to Donate Blood

June 10, 2010

by Andrew Zajac | Los Angeles Times

A federal health panel is considering changes to a long-standing ban on blood donations by most gay men amid a growing body of evidence that the sharpest restrictions may no longer be necessary.

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Passport Gender Marker Problem Resolved

June 10, 2010

from the National Center for Transgender Equality

Last night the US Department of State announced new guidelines for issuing passports to transgender people. Beginning today, applicants for a gender marker change on their passports will need to submit certification from a physician that they have received “appropriate clinical treatment” for gender transition. Most importantly, gender reassignment surgery is not required under the new policy.

The new rules will also apply to changing a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) for US citizens who were born outside of the United States.  CRBA’s are the equivalent of a birth certificate.

For years, NCTE has been advocating with the State Department to change their rules about gender markers on passports and CRBA’s.  Previously they had required proof of irreversible sex reassignment surgery before the gender marker could be changed, although there were exceptions for temporary, provisional passports to allow someone to travel for surgery.

NCTE and other advocates have stressed with the State Department that this policy unnecessarily called attention to transgender travelers whose appearance and gender marker were at odds. In some destinations, this had the potential to create an extremely dangerous situation when a traveler is outed as transgender in an unwelcoming environment or in the presence of prejudiced security personnel.

Fortunately, the new rules represent a significant advance in providing safe, humane and dignified treatment of transgender people.  There are details in the guidelines about what information a physician must provide and we will communicate those to you as soon as possible. However, the State Department notes that applicants will not need to supply any additional medical documentation and that there is no SRS requirement.

“We want to extend our thanks to the Obama Administration, and particularly to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, for understanding the need for this change and then responding to make travel safer for transgender people,” commented Mara Keisling, Executive Director of NCTE.  “This shows how changes in government policy directly impact people’s lives, in this case, for the better.”

In the next few days, NCTE will be issuing a definitive resource that fully explains the new guidelines and outlines the ways in which transgender people can make changes to their passports and CRBAs.

Many people-from elected officials to LGBT advocates-have worked for years to change these policies and deserve credit and thanks. Particularly important work was done by Rep. Barney Frank as well as Rep. Steve Israel in the House of Representatives; Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFAA), which represents LGBT employees and their families working in foreign affairs offices for the US government; all of our allied LGBT organizations who have been committed to this work, including the Center for Global Equality, The Task Force, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal and the Human Rights Campaign; and those working on medical policies, including the American Medical Association and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).


New Policy on Gender Change in Passports Announced

June 10, 2010

from the U.S. Department of State

The U.S. Department of State is pleased to use the occasion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Month to announce its new policy guidelines regarding gender change in passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad.

Beginning June 10, when a passport applicant presents a certification from an attending medical physician that the applicant has undergone appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition, the passport will reflect the new gender. The guidelines include detailed information about what information the certification must include. It is also possible to obtain a limited-validity passport if the physician’s statement shows the applicant is in the process of gender transition. No additional medical records are required. Sexual reassignment surgery is no longer a prerequisite for passport issuance. A Consular Report of Birth Abroad can also be amended with the new gender.

As with all passport applicants, passport issuing officers at embassies and consulates abroad and domestic passport agencies and centers will only ask appropriate questions to obtain information necessary to determine citizenship and identity.

The new policy and procedures are based on standards and recommendations of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), recognized by the American Medical Association as the authority in this field.


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