The law was spearheaded by Corey Johnson, the first openly gay male City Council speaker, and signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in September.
“Transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers deserve the right to choose how they identify and to live with respect and dignity,” Mayor de Blasio said in a statement. “This bold new policy advances the fight for equality and makes our City fairer for all people.”
The law change continues the city’s recent trend towards protecting transgender and gender non-conforming individuals from discrimination, as they now join Oregon, Washington and New Jersey in having a gender neutral option. Back in 2016, de Blasio signed an executive order requiring city agencies to ensure transgender and gender non-conforming individuals were given access to single-sex bathrooms that matched their gender identity without being required to show a form of identification.
In order to change the gender on their birth certificate, New York City residents will now only need an affidavit affirming their correct gender. No medical documentation is required.
“No one can tell you who you are, and only you can decide your identity,” Johnson said. “Now every New Yorker can make their own choice as to how their gender is represented on their birth certificates. I have long advocated for this gender 'X' category option and I am proud that New York’s birth certificates are now as inclusive as our city. I hope everyone who chooses to change their gender marker knows that their city government has their back and supports their decision.”
The law also allows parents to choose the “X” option if they do not wish to assign gender at birth.
“For decades, New York City has been a place where people come to express their identity, but our institutions never afforded transgender and non-binary individuals control over their gender on government documents,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “By offering a non-binary option and a less burdensome way to change one’s gender on their birth certificate, the city is moving in the right direction towards full equality for New Yorkers who have historically been marginalized and ignored.”