Bronx Man Living a Kafkaesque Nightmare Because of Birth Certificate Mistake


23 year-old David Rivera insists his name is David Rivera. His birth certificate, however, lists his first name as “Male.” This simple mix-up has snowballed into a massive problem that has turned Rivera’s life into an Abbott and Costello routine. Rivera told the Post, “I’m trying to get a birth certificate to get an ID, but I can’t get an ID without a [correct] birth certificate.” Because of this of bureaucratic gem of circular logic, Rivera is unable to get a job or enroll in college.

Normally, someone in this situation would contact the hospital where they were born to clear up the mess. St. Mary’s Hospital in Brooklyn, where Rivera was born, is now closed. “I don’t even know how to get hospital records from a hospital that’s not there anymore,” he told the Post.

After working a summer job at the Bronx Zoo, Rivera had to apply to get an ID in order to pursue employment after high school. “I’m the only one out of my mother’s kids to finish high school,” said Rivera, who was raised mostly in foster care throughout childhood. The agony of a routine DMV visit was compounded when they told Rivera he was ineligible for a non-driver’s ID because his birth certificate name didn’t match.

Rivera has had to hire a lawyer to file a petition in order for his birth certificate to be changed. Until then, he still risks the daily inconvenience of being Male Rivera. He told the Post that police often stop kids in his Bronx neighborhood. “I’d be lucky if they let me go, because they could lock me up for not having identification.”

Name-‘drop’ nightmare [NYP]