New legislation passed last week will soon allow native New Yorkers to select a non-binary gender
option on their birth certificates. This third gender option – ‘X’ – will be available from January next year.
The legislation, which was voted in by the New York City Council and the Board of Health last Wednesday, will allow people who identify as nonbinary to change without additional documents from a doctor or their health-care provider.
The option will be available once it is signed in by New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio. De Blasio, who is a Democrat, supported the bill at the time of its introduction in June. He praised provisions that would “allow transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers to live with the dignity and respect they deserve”.
New York City council speaker Corey Johnson spoke to The Guardian about the significance of the legislation:
“There are plenty of New Yorkers who don’t identify as either male or female. Gender is a spectrum for many folks. It’s not a fixed thing.
“When you don’t have something as basic and essential as a birth certificate that identifies you as who you really are, it’s a problem.”
Johnson added that the third gender option makes bureaucratic tasks involving personal identification
easier for people who are non-binary: “It 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 not to be
harassed and not to be questioned.”
The third gender option is also expected to be used on the birth certificates for intersex infants. Toby Adams, the executive director of the Intersex and Genderqueer Recognition Project praised the legislation’s passing and its implications for intersex
“It’s really damaging legally and psychologically to have your gender identity misidentified, and
there are so many places where we have to show our ID.”
New York joins Oregon, Washington, California and New Jersey in allowing people to select a non-binary gender option their birth certificate.
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