New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill that will allow the city’s residents to change their birth certificates to reflect their preferred gender or choose a third nonbinary option of “X.”
“The LGBTQ rights movement was born in NYC. Today, we’re making history again in the fight for dignity and respect,” de Blasio tweeted on Tuesday.
The LGBTQ rights movement was born in NYC. Today, we're making history again in the fight for dignity and respect. https://t.co/TZikDlwGxa
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) October 9, 2018
“New Yorkers should be free to tell their government who they are, not the other way around,” de Blasio said, WLNY-TV reported. “This new legislation will empower all New Yorkers – especially our transgender and gender nonbinary 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.”
Under the new law, New Yorkers would also no longer be required to provide documentation from a doctor or health care provider to order to change their birth certificate.
“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,” Council Speaker Corey Johnson said after the bill was passed, according to the New York Daily News. “Some people don’t want to check off male or female, and this is going to give them that third option.”
The law is expected to make it easier for people to obtain various forms of identification that reflect their gender identity. Previously, the gender on a person’s driver license or other official ID was determined by the gender listed on their birth certificate, which in some cases, didn’t match the person’s chosen identity.
“Today is a landmark day for our city,” Johnson said after the bill was signed, WLNY reported. “New York is sending a clear message to people who are transgender, gender non-conforming and nonbinary that we are here for you. This law will help those friends, neighbors, and colleagues better self-identify on their birth certificates, a document that’s so important in everyday life.”
Johnson introduced the measure in June. It was passed by the New York City Council last month.
Does the law apply to children?
The law will permit children 18 and younger to change the gender identity on their birth certificates with parental consent.
Parents already have the option to choose undetermined on their children’s birth certificates, according to the Daily News. The undetermined option shows up as a series of asterisks on the document.
When does the law go into effect?
The law will go into effect on Jan. 1.
Before 2014, New Yorkers who wanted to change their gender identity on birth certificates were required to have had gender reassignment surgery.
The states of New Jersey, Oregon, California, and Washington also have nonbinary gender options for individuals who don’t identify as a man or woman, according to the Intersex and Genderqueer Recognition Project, which tracks such legislative changes.
Maine, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., also allow persons to choose nonbinary options on their driver’s license. Californians will have that option beginning in January.
Watch last week’s hearing: