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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 6, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 01
New York issues first-in-nation Intersex birth certificate
Section One
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New York issues first-in-nation Intersex birth certificate

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The state of New York has issued what is apparently the first birth certificate in the country to include 'Intersex' as a gender designation.

The certificate was issued to 55-year-old Sara Kelly Keenan at her request.

Keenan was born with XY chromosomes - but with female genitalia and mixed reproductive organs - and was assigned female gender at birth.

Keenan, who uses 'she' pronouns, was unaware she was Intersex until 2012 but struggled with her gender throughout her childhood.

'I always knew I was something other than what the boys were and something other than what the girls were, but I didn't know what that was,' she said. 'And I thought I was alone in the world with whatever it was.'

Keenan won the right to be designated as 'non-binary' in California, but the state of New York requires that birth certificate gender markers be biologically based. Therefore, they rejected the description 'non-binary' but allowed 'Intersex.'

Keenan said she hoped that future gender designations can go beyond the constraints of male, female, and Intersex.

'New York has opened the door, and I don't think they'll be able to shut it again,' she said.

Keenan is also working as a paralegal with the Intersex and Genderqueer Recognition Project to push for a change in gender recognition.

'In bringing this change, all the Intersex children born now and yet to be born are my children because I can bring change for them,' she said. 'I don't have a biological piece of the future, but I have a heart piece of the future through those children because I can help them and give them a better experience.'

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