Monday, June 17, 2013

Huge Social Security Win For Trans Community

The worldwide trans community has been on a good karmic roll lately with either policy or legislative victories in various nations, and we had a huge one come from the Social Security Administration.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced the modernization of the medical requirements transgender people must show to update the gender marker in a person’s social security record, eliminating the archaic genital surgery requirement and replacing it with “appropriate clinical treatment” as several other federal agencies already have done.

SSA also issued guidelines on how staff should interact with transgender people. This includes important protections: confidentiality, proper pronoun usage, and treating trans people with respect and dignity.

This is a crucial change because the Social Security number is used as a defacto national ID and because the varying standards of changing identity documents from state to state lead to inconsistent documentation for trans people.. 

It also a huge win for trans individuals because access to employment, housing, health care and travel all can hinge on having appropriate documentation. When employers and governmental agencies like state Departments of Motor Vehicles encounter SSA document gender discrepancies while verifying a person’s identity, transgender individuals often face discrimination or other hardships.

For our trans elder population on Medicare it's also important because the gender marker on the face of Medicare ID cards is pulled directly from the Social Security database. State government agencies, including Medicaid, also often match data with SSA, causing problems for trans people with mismatched SSA documentation.

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