NYC agrees ex-Marine is a man, ending 5-year battle

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 09, 2012 9:08 PM
NYC agrees ex-Marine is a man, ending 5-year battle

By Jonathan Allen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - After a five-year battle with bureaucracy, a former U.S. Marine finally got New York City to admit on Thursday that he is male and agree to reissue the birth certificate that incorrectly stated otherwise.

David Hassan, a bearded Iraq War veteran, was born in Manhattan's Lenox Hill Hospital 29 years ago. There was never a reason to doubt he was a boy.

But it was only in 2003 that it came to Hassan's attention that the hospital had deemed him to be female on his birth certificate, his lawyer said.

Hassan was not bothered by the mistake until he moved to New Jersey after serving in Iraq with the Marine Corp, and tried to get a New Jersey driving license.

His birth certificate identifying him as female raised eyebrows with the authorities, and the license was not issued, Peter Madison, Hassan's lawyer, said in an interview.

In a bid to set the record straight, Lenox Hill Hospital gave Hassan a letter in 2007 to show to the city's Department of Health, which explained that he was male and not female - although his problems were far from over.

"The city for reasons known only to themselves said that in the letter the hospital must state that it was their mistake," Madison said. "Lenox Hill would not admit that it was their own mistake."

Hassan, who meanwhile has had to rely on public transport or rides from friends to get from his home in Bayonne to his graduate studies at Rutgers University, tried to seek a court order this week telling the city to reissue him a corrected birth certificate.

The subsequent media coverage of his case appeared to have expedited his claim.

A spokeswoman for Lenox Hill said on Thursday that the hospital incorrectly thought the issue had been resolved in 2007, but that it was now in touch with the city and Hassan's lawyer to resolve the matter.

The Department of Health did not give its own version of events on Thursday, but said that it now expected to get the correct paperwork in the next day or so and would then "amend Mr. Hassan's record to reflect the correction of the sex listed."

Madison said he could not understand why there should have been even a moment's confusion over the sex of his client.

"Have you seen him?" he said, before referring to Hassan's full beard. "He's not the bearded lady from the circus."

(Editing by Tim Gaynor)