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Years before the White House was lit in rainbow colors celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage, President Obama used a routine bureaucratic tool that ended up significantly changing the government’s understanding of gender and how it can be changed.
The process began during Obama’s first year in office when he issued a memo in June 2009 instructing agencies to extend to same-sex couples some benefits that the spouses of federal employees receive. Over time, that directive led to a decision by the Social Security Administration to greatly lower the threshold requirements for changing one’s sex on official government documents, a change that would determine how a person’s gender is recorded on passports, tax returns, marriage licenses and other documents.
Since June 2013, someone wishing to change their sex classification on their Social Security card has needed to provide only a doctor’s note guaranteeing that “appropriate clinical treatment” is underway.
Before then, a person seeking to change their sex on the document had to undergo gender reassignment surgery, an expensive and, many LGBT advocates and doctors say, unnecessary procedure for a transition to take place.
Although the U.S. Census Bureau does not collect data on transgender Americans as a separate population, Gary Gates, a demographer at the University of California at Los Angeles, said they number about 700,000, or between 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent of the population.
Read full, original post: Obama’s quiet transgender revolution