New York City Adds Gender-Neutral Option to Birth Certificates

new law was recently passed in New York City to make it easier for transgender and non-binary individuals to match their birth certificates to their gender identity. In the past, a written affirmation from a healthcare provider was required to make the switch. The law created the new label, “X,” to reflect a non-binary identity.

Lexie Ehlers
For The Record

    Anyone over the age of eighteen can now alter their birth certificates to the “X” option to reflect their “true gender identity.” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the move into law on Tuesday. The mayor stated, “To all trans and non-binary New Yorkers: We see you, hear you and respect you. Starting in 2019, all New Yorkers will be able to change their gender on their birth certificate to Male, Female, or X – without a doctor’s note.”

Before 2014, New York City only allowed people to alter their gender on a birth certificate after undergoing a gender reassignment surgery. A note from a doctor or medical professional was required to do so. “You don’t need a doctor to tell you who you are and you shouldn’t need a doctor to change your birth certificate to reflect your true self,” New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said in a statement in June when the law was first proposed.

Parents now have the option to choose “X” for their children, and adults can select the marker for themselves as long as they confirm the change is “not for any fraudulent purpose,” the state publicized.

New York City joins states California, Oregon and Washington as places offering a gender-neutral option on birth certificates. New Jersey will be enacting this law in February as well.

The change is the latest in the city’s efforts to reduce the regulations and rules set for transgender and non-binary individuals. Ever since the city eased requirements for gender labels in 2015, hundreds of people have received amended birth certificates with a health care provider’s signature. Although, New York state still does require a signature from a medical professional for a gender marker change on state-issued documents, including drivers’ licenses.

New York, as well as other states, are confident that this change is a step in the right direction. “It is important that young people be empowered to explore their identities in a manner that is relevant to them,” stated Melissa Sklarz, a Queens-based trans-rights activist. How long until this option becomes a nation-wide law? How will people of the region react to an alteration such as this? Our country is going through many controversial changes that leave us divided, but respect for others should always override judgement.