A 14-year-old trans boy is suing the state of New York for refusing to let him change the sex on his birth certificate.
The boy, identified as MHW in the lawsuit, was born in Ithaca, New York and now lives in Houston, Texas. After beginning his transition, he was able to change all of his identity documents except for his birth certificate.
New York State allows trans people to change their birth certificates without needing to undergo surgery. However, they must be over the age of 18 — with the exception of those born in New York City, where underage trans people are allowed to update their documents.
Lamba Legal filed a federal lawsuit against New York on behalf of MHW.
The boy’s mother, Jennifer L. Wingard, said in a statement: “As parents, we only want what is best for our son. Our son is a boy, but New York State refuses to recognize him as such.”
“This is really just wanting for our son the same recognition that any other kid has, that most kids just take for granted, that most parents take for granted,” his father, Michael Sicinski, added to The Associated Press.
The lawsuit argues that New York’s policy could subject the boy to danger, including invasions of privacy, discrimination, and even physical violence. Under the current rule, trans youth are forced to reveal “private and sensitive information” about themselves to explain the discrepancies in their documents.
“I’m a teenager in high school living in Texas,” the teen said in a statement. “Having an inaccurate birth certificate can cause the disclosure of my transgender status when I enroll in college classes or when I get my driver’s license, and expose me to possible harm.”
Wingard says her son has already faced similar experiences. He had to explain to the TSA why the name on his plane ticket didn’t match his gender on his documents, for example.
There are an estimated 9,750 trans teens under 18 in the state of New York.