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May 20, 2019

Mayor de Blasio to sign bill creating third gender on NYC birth certificates

October 9, 2018
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson address the crowd during the Pride breakfast at the Dream Hotel in downtown Manhattan. June 24, 2018. (Luiz C. Ribeiro for New York Daily News)

New York City residents who identify as neither male or female will soon be able to change the gender on their birth certificate to a third option, ‘X,’ under legislation set to be signed into law by Mayor de Blasio this afternoon.

And the new law, introduced by Council Speaker Corey Johnson, will also allow transgender New Yorkers to self-attest their gender and change their birth certificate without documentation from a nurse or doctor.

The legislation, which passed the City Council last month, is aimed at making it easier for transgender people to have a birth certificate that reflects their gender identity — and to create a third option for those who identify as gender non-conforming or non-binary, meaning they can have multiple genders or none at all.

The new law builds on a previous one sponsored by Johnson in 2014, which removed a longstanding requirement that people show proof they were undergoing hormone treatment or getting sex-change surgery if they wanted to change the gender on their birth certificate. But under that law, people still had to provide a note from a doctor or a nurse when seeking the change.

“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,” Johnson said in September, when the bill passed. “Some people don’t want to check off male or female, and this is going to give them that third option.”

Birth certificates are necessary to access many city services — and the gender listed on a drivers’ license or other forms official ID are generally based on what is listed on the birth certificate, meaning today’s change will make it easier for people to obtain multiple forms of ID that reflect their gender identity.

Previously, parents who don’t want to list male or female on their newborn’s birth certificate can choose undetermined, which displays on the birth certificate as a series of asterisks. But adults have not been able to choose such an option until now.

Kids under 18 will be able to make the change with parental consent.

The gender listed on drivers’ licenses and other official ID is generally based on the birth certificate.

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