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Ex-Marine David Hassan Suing Over Botched Birth Certificate Indicating He's Female

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Ex-Marine David Hassan served the country in Iraq, but can't get a passport or other legal documents.

The reason? According to New York City's records, he is a woman.

"I've been male my whole life," Hassan told CBS 2's Sean Hennessey on Wednesday night.

But his birth certificate, with a faded gender box, apparently has never indicated that.  It is something Hassan didn't realize until he lost his wallet while on leave from duty in Iraq.

When Hassan applied for a replacement birth certificate to help with a new license, the city told him the birth certificate said he was female. So, Hassan applied for a corrected birth certificate.

"But they said they couldn't correct the gender on my birth certificate without a letter from the hospital where I was born saying it was the hospital's fault," he said.

That hospital, Lenox Hill, issued a letter saying only that the certificate ".. has gender listed as female and this is incorrect." However, Hassan said they won't issue a letter saying it was their fault.

Twenty nine years later, it's tough to know whose fault it is.

"The hospital either put the wrong gender on that piece of paper, or the city put the wrong gender on the birth certificate," Hassan said.

Caught in a legal limbo, and unable to get a license, car title or passport, the former Arabic translator is returning fire with a lawsuit filed by his lawyer.

"Nobody wants to step up and say 'oops we made a mistake,' whether it's the city or the hospital," attorney Peter Madison said.

The mistake raises an obvious question: how did Hassan get his first driver's license or even into the military with a faulty birth certificate?

"I don't think anyone looked that closely at the gender," Hassan said. "I don't care whose fault it is. I want a new birth certificate that has the right gender."

Lenox Hill Hospital said it's working to help fix the problem while the city said it's confident this situation will be resolved.

A court date has been set for the end of the month if a resolution isn't reached by then.

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