POLITICS
01/03/2019 02:10 pm ET

New York City Begins Offering Nonbinary Gender Option On Birth Certificates

A new law allowing the choice of “X,” in addition to “male” or “female,” took effect New Year’s Day.

Add New York City to the growing list of U.S. states and cities to offer residents a third gender option on their birth certificates. 

A new law allowing the choice of “X,” in addition to “male” or “female,” took effect New Year’s Day. The nonbinary category can be selected by those who identify as nonbinary, as well as by parents who choose the category for newborn children, according to The Associated Press.

Those who wish to change their own gender marker will also no longer be required to provide a doctor’s note or an affidavit from a licensed health care facility to do so. 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) praised the law for “furthering the city’s commitment to defending the rights of our LGBTQ community” when he signed the provision in October 2018. 

He reiterated that stance in a statement this week, saying, “Transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers deserve the right to choose how they identify and to live with respect and dignity. This bold new policy advances the fight for equality and makes our city fairer for all people.”

New York City now joins the states of California, Washington and Oregon in offering the “X” option on birth certificates. Similar legislation will take effect Feb. 1 in New Jersey. 

When the New York law was first proposed in June 2018, Eliel Cruz of the LGBTQ advocacy organization the Anti-Violence Project said allowing a third gender option on birth certificates would be a monumental gesture for members of the transgender and gender nonconforming communities. 

“Allowing gender nonconforming and non-binary New Yorkers [to] mark ‘X’ on their birth certificates is an important first step in protecting and ending violence against them,” Cruz told HuffPost at the time. “When non-binary people are forced to identify as either man or woman, it is dehumanizing and harmful towards them.”

“Gender is expansive,” Cruz added, “and the X marker on the birth certificate recognizes that.”

CONVERSATIONS