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UPDATE: New York City Officially Begins Allowing Non-Binary Gender Markers On Birth Certificates

New York City residents can now change their gender markers to X by attesting that it represents their "true gender identity."

Marilyn Drew Necci | January 3, 2019

With the passing of the year came a strong move toward social progress for New York City. As of New Years Day, New York residents can now officially declare themselves non-binary, and change the gender marker on their birth certificate to “X.” In addition, they can now make this change and other necessary gender changes merely by attesting that it represents their “true gender identity,” rather than needing to provide a doctor’s note.

The office of NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio celebrated the change by tweeting a clip of a non-binary person discussing the importance of the change. In the clip, they called it “an essential step toward the breaking down of binary ideological systems created in order to justify and uphold social, political, and economic oppression; systems which result ultimately — and this is a truth no one can escape — in the separation of us all, every one of us, from ourselves and our humanity.”

This makes New York City the fifth place in the US where non-binary is an option on birth certificates, joining the Pacific coast states of California, Oregon, and Washington, and the District Of Columbia.

Original article, from September 18, 2018, follows:

Legislation that passed on Wednesday in New York’s City Council will make it possible for New Yorkers to select a third gender option on their birth certificate. New Yorkers who are neither male nor female will be able to change the inaccurate M or F on their birth certificates to an X, the letter that will be used to signify non-binary identites under the new legislation.

While the bill has not yet been signed into law by New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio, he and New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who introduced the bill, jointly announced it earlier this summer. DeBlasio is therefore expected to sign the bill into law when it crosses his desk. “This proposal will allow transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers to live with the dignity and respect they deserve, and make our City fairer,” said DeBlasio during the announcement of the bill, according to Fox News.

Johnson said the introduction of a measure like this is important due to the need for a birth certificate to access many city services. For trans people whose appearances don’t match the gender designation on their birth certificates, this can cause a lot of hassle. “To actually have a certificate that matches who you are, it’s not just the importance of unlocking the things you deserve,” Johnson told the New York Daily News. “It also gives that individual a level of internal comfort, a level of safety, that they’re going to be OK when they’re in average, everyday situations — to not be harassed and to not be questioned, ‘is that who you really are?’”

In 2014, Johnson sponsored successful legislation to remove the requirement for trans people to show proof of hormone treatment or gender reassignment surgery in order to change their gender on birth certificates. However, a doctor or nurse still had to sign off on the gender marker change before it could be processed. The new legislation removes that requirement; those wishing to change their gender marker are now able to self-attest their gender identity.

New York City now joins the states of California and Oregon, both of which passed similar legislation allowing a third gender option on birth certificates in 2017. Only 47 more to go.

Photo By Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York, CC BY 2.0/via Wikimedia

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