SSA has announced the modernization of the medical requirements transgender people must show to update the gender marker on their social security record.
This means that transgender people will no longer have to meet an archaic surgery requirement because the SSA has replaced that requirement with “appropriate clinical treatment” the way several other federal agencies already have done.
As a transgender woman, I can’t adequately express to you how exciting this news is for the transgender community. This policy change is potentially the largest federal win our community has ever had! I work everyday with transgender people who are navigating the bureaucracy required to change their documentation and this change will have a tremendous impact on their lives. When trans people apply for jobs, seek health care, housing or travel they often face discrimination when their ID documents don’t match up. Because Social Security documents feed into other federal systems, this change will have a tremendous impact and make it easier for their ID documents to match their gender identity.
SSA also issued guidelines on how staff should interact with transgender people including important protections like confidentiality, proper pronoun usage, and treating transgender people with respect and dignity. I wish that we didn’t have to fight to be treated with respect and dignity, but I’m glad the SSA is not just implementing policy changes, but encouraging their staff to implement the changes appropriately. This change has been one of the Task Force’s top priorities because social security documents are so important for transgender people when applying for jobs and accessing Medicare and other vital services. The Task Force isn’t alone in fighting for the rights of the transgender community, we’ve worked closely with the National Center for Transgender Equality. Check out their helpful guide to the new policy and what it means in detail to transgender people. Read it here.
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Faith Work Associate