NYC Just Made History by Issuing the First US Intersex Birth Certificate
While 2016 certainly had its lows (we’re STILL reeling over the deaths of George Michael, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds and these 15 other iconic celebs), it had its bright spots too — just check out this website for proof. If you STILL don’t believe us, wait ‘til you hear the history-making moment that happened earlier this week (and no, it has nothing to do with President-elect Donald Trump).
NYC’s Sara Kelly Keenan has been alive for 55 years, but it wasn’t until this week that she was issued a birth certificate that reflects who she really is.
Born with male genes, female lady parts and mixed internal organs, she was legally dubbed a male at first, then three weeks later, a female, but neither really felt right.
Following in the footsteps of Jamie Shupe, who became the first person to be recognized as non-binary by the US court system, Sarah has been granted her own unconventional birth certificate, listing her as intersex.
Alesdair Ittelson, the Deputy Legal Director at intersex advocacy group interACT, told NBC it was a historical achievement. “As far as interACT is aware, [Sara’s] is the first birth certificate with the designation of ‘intersex,’” she said. “We are aware of one other reissued birth certificate that reads ‘hermaphrodite’ and several that do not have a sex specified.”
While there’s still plenty of progress to be made (Jamie reportedly had issues receiving her passport even post-ruling), it’s a baby step in the right direction. “Not all intersex people will legally choose to identify as intersex, and not all people will choose to have their intersex child identified as intersex on birth documents. But for those who do, the option must exist,” Sara said.
And now, thanks to her, it does. She took to Facebook to share her achievement, rocking an “Intersexxxy” shirt and holding an “I Love NY” sign proudly. “I’ve never been more proud to be a native of the greatest city on Earth…THE CITY…New York City,” she wrote.
If the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which issued the certificate, is any indicator, it’s no wonder: The organization’s assistant press secretary Julien A. Martinez told NBC that “the department will continue to work with community partners as we adopt changes to more accurately reflect a person’s sex.”
Cheers to that!
Congratulations, Sara — and happy 2017!
Does Sara’s accomplishment give you hope for 2017? Share with us @BritandCo.