New York City birth certificates get gender-neutral option

A new law in New York City makes it easier for transgender and non-binary New Yorkers to match their birth c...

Posted: Jan 4, 2019 4:06 AM
Updated: Jan 4, 2019 4:06 AM

A new law in New York City makes it easier for transgender and non-binary New Yorkers to match their birth certificate to their gender identity without needing a signed affidavit from a healthcare provider.

The law, which went into effect Tuesday, also creates a new label, "X," to reflect a non-binary identity.

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"Transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers deserve the right to choose how they identify and to live with respect and dignity," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement released Monday.

"Our city respects your gender identity and the right to have it affirmed on your birth certificate," de Blasio's office echoed in a Tuesday tweet.

Under the law, individuals born in New York City can apply to have the gender marker on their birth certificate changed by submitting a notarized application stating that the revision is to reflect their "true gender identity and is not for any fraudulent purpose."

"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 June statement when the law was first proposed.

The "X" option will not be available at the time of birth, Michael Lanza, a spokesman for the New York City Health Department, told CNN Thursday, though it will be an option for amending youth birth certificates.

The move is the latest in the city's efforts to reduce legal red tape for transgender and non-binary individuals. Hundreds have already received amended birth certificates with a health care provider's signature since the city eased requirements for a gender marker change in 2015. Prior to that, individuals seeking to have their gender marker changed on their birth certificate would have had to provide proof of sex-reassignment surgery.

New York City joins the states of California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho in allowing a birth certificate change without the signature of a medical authority. New Jersey is scheduled to follow suit in February.

New York state still requires a medical professional's signature for a gender marker change on state-issued documents, including drivers' licenses, according to a database maintained by the National Center for Transgender Equality.

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