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New York City offers new ‘X’ gender option on birth certificates

New Yorkers no longer need a letter from a physician or an affidavit signed by a licensed health care provider to change their gender on their birth certificate, as a new ‘X’ gender option is available to those who do not identify as male or female.

The city’s Health Department reported that the changes, which came into effect on January 1st, will allow New Yorkers to change the gender on their birth certificate to “X” to reflect non-binary gender identities.

Although sex assigned at birth is required on birth certificates, the Health Department recognizes that some people’s assigned sex may not be consistent with their gender identity. The Department already allows New Yorkers to amend the gender on their birth certificate without surgery or a name change.

“New Yorkers deserve a birth certificate that reflects and affirms their lived reality.”

“Transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers deserve the right to choose how they identify and to live with respect and dignity,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This bold new policy advances the fight for equality and makes our City fairer for all people.”

“New Yorkers deserve a birth certificate that reflects and affirms their lived reality,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “No one should have to claim a false identity because the government refuses to acknowledge gender fluidity.”

“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,” Dr. Barbot added.

“No one can tell you who you are, and only you can decide your identity. Now every New Yorker can make their own choice as to how their gender is represented on their birth certificates,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.

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.

– Speaker Corey Johnson

In June, Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Corey Johnson announced the landmark proposal to make birth certificates more inclusive to all gender identities. The City Council and the Board of Health voted last September to include a gender non-binary option on birth certificates and make it easier for New Yorkers to change the gender marker assigned to them at birth.

In addition to modernizing birth certificate services, the City has worked to improve, protect and promote the health of all transgender and gender non-binary New Yorkers.

In September 2017, First Lady Chirlane McCray launched the NYC Unity Project — the City’s first-ever, first-ever, citywide initiative to support and empower LGBTQ young people through innovative policy and program change, including funding for 24-hour drop-in centers in every borough; the opening of the city’s first youth shelter beds for young people age 21-24; trainings and certifications for more than 500 Health + Hospitals physicians; and a citywide public awareness campaign centered on highlighting city resources available to LGBTQ young people and their families.

People born in New York City can submit a notarized affidavit that attests the gender marker change is to affirm their gender identity. A sample affidavit is available online.

Written by QWEERIST editor

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