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.


Incarcerated Transgender Woman Can Pursue Case for Appropriate Medical Care

June 8, 2010

A U.S. district court judge in Massachusetts has denied the government’s request to dismiss the case of Vanessa Adams, a Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) inmate with gender identity disorder (GID). For years, the BOP denied Ms. Adams treatment for her serious medical condition. As a result, Ms. Adams attempted suicide multiple times when prison doctors failed to provide any treatment. She eventually removed her own genitals. Ms. Adams now challenges the federal policy that prison doctors and other medical providers used to justify the denial of her treatment.

At issue is BOP’s so-called “freeze frame” policy in which treatment for any prisoner with gender identity disorder is frozen at the level being provided when he or she entered BOP. In other words, because Ms. Adams did not receive treatment for GID before being incarcerated, BOP would not provide it to her after her incarceration.

Vanessa Adams is being represented by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Florida Institutional Legal Services (FILS), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and Bingham McCutchen LLP. The organizations hold the position that people should receive medically-necessary treatment for serious health conditions while in our nation’s prison system, including transgender-related health needs.

“Unfortunately, despite the fact that GID is well-recognized as a serious medical condition, individuals with GID face stigma and bias. In Vanessa’s case, stigma and bias alone have deprived her of the medical attention she needs. By filing this case, she seeks to ensure that transgender inmates with serious medical needs get appropriate care, just as prisoners with heart conditions and diabetes should,” said Jennifer L. Levi, Transgender Rights Project Director for GLAD.

Cassandra Capobianco of Florida Institutional Legal Services added, “It is critical not only for Vanessa’s health and safety but for the good of other prisoners that BOP’s policy be changed.”

“We’re pleased that the judge recognized the inhumanity of the BOP policy, and that Vanessa will have her day in court,” said Shannon Minter, Legal Director of NCLR.

In its June 7 ruling, the Court rejected BOP’s argument that Ms. Adams’ claim should be invalidated because the prison finally started her on hormones. Citing the BOP’s consistently callous conduct toward Ms. Adams, the fact that BOP could stop Ms. Adams’ treatment at any time, and the fact that BOP continues to enforce its freeze-frame policy, the Court ruled that the question of the constitutionality of the policy remains open.

This case will now in all likelihood proceed to trial.

More information about Adams v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, including the complaint and the decision, can be found at www.glad.org and www.nclrights.org.


Demonstrators Urge Passage of Transgender Rights Legislation

May 24, 2010

by Sean Teehan | Boston Globe

After being hired for a job in Foxborough last year, Logan Ferraro, a 19-year-old transgender man, received a call from his new boss.

read more


Transgender Rural Californians Face Hate Crimes

March 1, 2010

by Jorge Amaro | Adelante

Sandra Hinojosa, a transgender woman, shares her story of tribulation and triumph as an agricultural worker.

Sandra Hinojosa was raised along with her 10 siblings by her single mother. A native of Santiago, a small town in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico, her mother “washed other people’s clothes, made tortillas to sell, and sold dinner at night,” says Sandra. ““It was she that helped us move forward. But none of us went to high school.”

read more


Transgender Protection Bill Put on Hold

February 10, 2010

by Aishah Hasnie | Wane TV

A bill that would have added protections for transgender people in Fort Wayne was taken off the table, Tuesday.

Democratic city council member Karen Goldner was expected to introduce the proposed amendment at Tuesday’s city council meeting. It’s aimed at preventing or punishing discrimination based on “gender identity.”

read more


For Transgender People, Name Is a Message

January 26, 2010

by William Glaberson | New York Times

Katherine used to be Miguel. Olin had a girl’s name. And in October, Robert Ira Schnur, 70, became Roberta Iris Schnur, a Manhattan retiree with magenta lipstick and, she noted the other day, chipped silver nail polish.

read more


U.S. Job Site Bans Bias Over Gender Identity

January 6, 2010

by Brian Knowlton | New York Times

The Obama administration has inserted language into the federal jobs Web site explicitly banning employment discrimination based on gender identity.

The protection is expected to apply to the small transgender population — people who identify their gender differently from the information on their birth certificates — and it merely formalizes what had been increasingly unchallenged government practice over several years.

read more


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