By Chris Geidner on September 15, 2011
The National Center for Transgender Equality announced this evening:
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has confirmed that it has ended the practice of allowing gender to be matched in its Social Security Number Verification System (SSNVS). This will result in the immediate cessation of SSA sending notifications that alert employers when the gender marker on an employee’s W-2 does not match Social Security records.
Asked about the decision, White House spokesman Shin Inouye told Metro Weekly, “The White House welcomes this move by Social Security Administration.”
A Freedom of Information Act request from NCTE showed that 711,488 gender no-match letters were sent in 2010 alone.
NCTE executive director Mara Keisling said in a news release about the development, “Ending this practice, which has endangered transgender people and our jobs, has been a priority for NCTE and we are pleased that the SSA has updated its policy.”
Keisling continued, explaining, “Alerting employers about differences in someone’s gender threatened people’s jobs and did not accomplish what this verification system was designed for. There was absolutely no reason for it and it was extremely dangerous for transgender people, who still face significant disrespect, discrimination and violence in the workplace.”
An after-hours request for additional information was left with the SSA press office.
UPDATE @ 5P FRIDAY: Human Rights Campaign spokesman Paul Guequierre told Metro Weekly in a statement, “Ending the gender verification process is a meaningful step toward respecting the basic rights and dignity of transgender employees in the workplace, and we congratulate NCTE for their successful efforts with the Social Security Administration.”
[This post was updated to include White House comment. -Ed.]