Mayor Bill de Blasio yesterday signed a historic piece of legislation into law, creating for the first time a third gender category on New York City birth certificates. The new law also makes it easier for transgender and gender non-binary people born in the City to amend their birth certificates to more accurately reflect who they are by removing medical and administrative barriers. The law will go into effect on January 1, 2019.
Intro 954-A was recently passed by the New York City Council under the leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson and in close partnership with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. This law continues the City’s work in championing the rights of the LGBTQ community.
“New Yorkers should be free to tell their government who they are, not the other way around,” said Mayor de Blasio. “This new legislation will empower all New Yorkers – especially our transgender and gender non-binary residents – to have birth certificates that better reflect their identity, and it furthers the City’s commitment to defending the rights of our LGBTQ community.”
The law calls for the creation of a third gender to appear on birth certificates issued by the City of New York. In addition to the “male” and “female” designations, birth certificates will also show an “X,” allowing gender non-binary people who identify neither as men nor women to have a birth certificate that more accurately reflects their identities.
The law also will allow individuals to self-attest their own gender identity on birth certificate applications, removing the current requirement that medical and mental health professionals first attest to an individual’s gender identity before they are permitted to amend the gender marker on their birth certificate.
With this new law, New York City will join jurisdictions across the country and the world in adding a third “X” gender option to official government documents, including Oregon, California, Washington and New Jersey (for birth certificates) and Oregon, Maine, California, and Washington, D.C (for driver’s licenses). Canada, Germany, New Zealand and Pakistan are among countries who provide a gender neutral option on passports.