NEW YORK, US -- New York City's health department on Tuesday rejected a proposal that would have allowed transgender people to switch the gender on their birth certificates without a sex-change operation.
Advocates who had been praising the proposal as ground-breaking for the rights of transgender people called it a frustrating setback when officials rescinded the proposal just before it was due for a vote by the board of health.
Had it passed, people who live in the gender opposite their genitalia would have been able to acquire a new birth certificate if they had the backing of doctors and mental health professionals.
The health department cited "broader societal ramifications"for killing the proposal, noting that hospitals, schools and jails still must classify people by gender.
"For example, how can you send a person with a penis to a women's prison?"said one health department official who requested anonymity because he was not authorised to speak for the department.
New York City's health department had made the proposal in recognition that many transgender people cannot afford sex reassignment surgery or do not consider it necessary to live in their acquired gender.