American’s will now be able to self-ID their gender on social security records
The US Social Security Administration announced Wednesday (October 19) it will now allow people to self-ID their correct gender identity in social security number records, regardless of gender identification on other identification documents.
The change – part of the organization’s “Equality Action Plan” – has been welcomed by advocacy groups who say it will help to mitigate the risk of discrimination, harassment and violence faced by millions of transgender Americans.
Reports say the SSA is also exploring the option to allow for an “X” designation for non-binary and other gender-diverse folk.
The agency’s acting commissioner, Kilolo Kijakazi, said the move is part of a “commitment to decrease administrative burdens and ensure people who identify as gender diverse, or transgender have options in the Social Security Number card application process.”
It’s also part of a larger Biden administration-wide effort to increase acceptance of gender identity.
Under the new SSA policy, transgender and gender-diverse individuals may change their gender designation. without needing to provide medical or legal documentation to prove their gender identity.
Those who opt to update their gender designation will need to apply for a replacement social security number card, the agency said, which requires that documentation like a drivers’ license or passport be submitted to certify their identity.
Individuals will no longer be required to provide medical or legal documentation stating their gender, eliminating some hurdles faced by trans Americans.
The policy update follows similar measures enacted by other federal agencies aimed at including transgender, nonbinary, gender nonconforming, and intersex individuals.
In March, the State Department announced the option of indicating their gender with an “X” on passports and the Transportation Security Administration announced at the time that it would offer the same “X” gender option for applicants to its Trusted Traveler programs.
“Official documents that reflect an individual’s true identity are essential to allowing them to lead dignified lives”, said David Stacy, Government Affairs Director of Human Rights Campaign.
“The Human Rights Campaign commends the U.S. Social Security Administration for allowing individuals to self-identify their gender on social security records, a move that will mitigate the risk of discrimination, harassment and violence faced by millions of transgender Americans.”
“We continue to urge other administrative agencies to follow suit in adopting inclusive policies that recognize and affirm transgender people.”