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Naz Seenauth
Queens, NY

Naz Seenauth was born in Queens Village to parents who are immigrants from Guyana. He is a transgender man, meaning he was raised female but knew from a young age that that didn’t quite fit, and so he transitioned to live every day as the man he has long known herself to be. In 2012 Naz sought to amend his birth certificate to reflect the reality that he is a man. At the time, New York state required that a transgender person undergo gender confirmation surgery before receiving an amended birth certificate, an outwardly discriminatory requirement. “Although we do not use our birth certificates every day as we do our photo IDs, when it comes to certain employment opportunities, we have to present our birth certificates,” Naz said at the time. “And that brings forth uncomfortable and unwanted conversations with future employers. There is a forced outing and it can feel unsafe at times. Many of the awkward conversations that I’ve had such as the ones at the DMV, Social Security, and at school could be avoided if my birth certificate matched my gender identity.”

Naz joined several other transgender individuals in a lawsuit against the city filed by TLDEF, and in 2014, New York City Council passed legislation that removed the surgical requirement. “I’ve spent a long time trying to be who I am,” he said. “Once I was ready, I faced challenges. I came out to a conservative Muslim family and I shared with many people my true identity. Transitioning was a challenge to me socially and I lost some people in my life. But I also gained many people in my life. …  No one should have to live in fear of harassment and discrimination.”

 


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