New York City Offers Gender-Neutral Birth Certificate Option

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed into law a bill allowing residents to choose a gender-neutral marker, X, on their birth certificates.

The legislation also eliminates the requirement that those wishing to change their gender marker provide a letter from a physician or an affidavit from another health care provider, according to a press release from LGBTQ elders group SAGE. The mayor signed the measure today at the Edie Windsor SAGE Center in Manhattan.

“New Yorkers should be free to tell their government who they are, not the other way around,” De Blasio said at the signing ceremony, New York TV station WCBS reports. “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.”

SAGE CEO Michael Adams praised the move. “This legislation goes a long way for transgender older people, who came of age during the decades when transgender people were heavily stigmatized,” he said in the press release. “For our city’s transgender elders, being able to obtain a birth certificate that matches their gender — without the need to go through a health care provider— is vital to assert their selfhood. Today, older transgender people and all New Yorkers know that the city has their back.”

The requirements for changing the gender marker have evolved over the past few years. Before 2014, residents had to have undergone gender-confirmation surgery in order to do so.

Washington State offers a gender-neutral option on birth certificates, and California is set to do so next year. Colorado recently issued a birth certificate retroactively identifying a resident as intersex. The District of Columbia, Maine, Minnesota, and Oregon offer a gender-neutral marker on driver's licenses and state identification cards.

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