Human Rights Campaign Applauds Social Security Administration for New Policy Allowing People to Self-Select Their Gender in Social Security Records

by Henry Berg-Brousseau

New Policy Enables Transgender Americans to Change Their Records to Reflect Their Gender Identity

Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) praised the U.S. Social Security Administration for allowing individuals to self-select their gender in social security number records, regardless of gender identification on other identification documents. The option to self-identify on federal documents aligns with recommendations outlined in HRC’s 2020 Blueprint for Positive Change.

David Stacy, Government Affairs Director of the Human Rights Campaign released the following statement regarding this important update:

“Official documents that reflect an individual's true identity are essential to allowing them to lead dignified lives. 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.”

Unmatched federal records and identification documents can out transgender individuals and increase their risk of discrimination, harassment, and violence. This change will now allow individuals to update their records and remove barriers to transgender individuals’ ability to participate in vital federal programs. For instance, Medicare or Medicaid coverage may be automatically denied for services that appear inconsistent with an individual’s Social Security Administration gender marker records.

People seeking to update their sex marker in Social Security records will need to apply for a replacement social security number card, and they will still need to show a current document to prove their identity. The agency will accept the applicant’s self-identified sex designation of either male or female, even if it is different from the sex designation shown on identity documents. Individuals will no longer need to provide medical or legal documentation of their sex designation due to this new policy change.

The recent Social Security Administration 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.

HRC’s Blueprint for Positive Change can be found here.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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