New York City has just transformed ground-breaking legislation into law with the adoption of a third gender option on birth certificates. The bill was just signed into law by Mayor de Blasio and it marks a major milestone for the transgender and gender non-binary community.

The new law will require a third gender option to appear on birth certificates beginning Jan. 1, 2019. Besides “male” and “female,” the third selection of “X” will be available. The law extends beyond new births to include any citizens born in New York City, making it possible for those who identify as transgender or non-binary to have a birth certificate that reflects how they currently identify.

“For the first time, all New Yorkers will be able to get a birth certificate that reflects and affirms their lived reality,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “We will not stop there—we strive to extend that dignity to every aspect of life. We will stand strong against any attempt to deny members of the LGBTQ community the respect or safety they deserve as fellow human beings.”

The law also allows for people to self-attest their own gender identity, getting rid of the current requirement for a medical or mental health professional to first attest to a person’s gender identity before being able to make a legal change.

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“New Yorkers should be free to tell their government who they are, not the other way around,” said Mayor de Blasio. “This new legislation will empower all New Yorkers—especially our transgender and gender non-binary 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.”

While the new law is historic for New York state, it’s not the first to enact such a law. New York City will join California, Maine, Oregon, Washington D.C. and Washington state, all of which allow for a third gender option on birth certificates as well as on on state identification and driver’s licenses.

—Shahrzad Warkentin

Featured photo: Rawpixel via Pexels

 

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