New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio signed a new law adding the ability to select a third gender on birth certificates without needing a letter from a health-care provider.
Beginning Jan. 1, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming people can choose to change their gender to “X” on official city documents by submitting their own affidavit.
“New Yorkers should be free to tell their government who they are, not the other way around,” de Blasio said at a signing ceremony Tuesday. “You be you. Live your truth. And know that New York City will have your back.”
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D) introduced the proposal in June and passed a council vote of 41-6 last month. New York City law used to require people to undergo gender confirmation surgery before requesting a legal gender change. Starting in 2014, the city removed the surgery requirement as grounds for requesting a gender change.
The city follows the states of California, Washington, New Jersey and Oregon in passing such legislation.
“This change may seem small but it is monumental,” said Tanya Asapansa-Johnson Walker, a transgender activist who took part in the ceremony said. “Imagine having to out yourself over and over and over again to strangers,” Walker said. “Future generations will not have to suffer.”