On Wednesday, for the first time in its history, New York City offered a third option for parents of newborn babies or anyone choosing not to identify as male or female: changing or setting the gender of a birth certificate to “X.”
That third option, bypassing male and female, became available courtesy of a law signed by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio in early October that went into effect on January 1. De Blasio stated that the law allowed citizens the freedom to "tell the government who they are and not the other way around … Imagine if you were told you were something that you did not consider yourself to be." He addressed transgender New Yorkers, saying, "You be you. Live your truth. And know that New York City will have your back."
De Blasio had said in June, “Pride Month is a time to celebrate how far we’ve come in the fight for equality, and re-affirm our commitment to protecting all New Yorkers from discrimination. This proposal will allow transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers to live with the dignity and respect they deserve, and make our City fairer.”
Corey Johnson, the Speaker of the New York City Council, who introduced the legislation, added:
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. This groundbreaking legislation will make New York birth certificates more inclusive for all and will send a powerful signal to the world that New York City government works for everyone. Now more than ever, it's important for us as elected officials to show our constituents that we see them, we have their backs, and we respect them for who they are. I want to thank my Council colleagues for their support and to the de Blasio Administration for their continued commitment to making this a New York City for all.
NPR reported, “New York City is the first municipal government with such legislation. Those living in the city but not born there do not fall under its law.” NBC News noted that New York City was the fifth state in America to have such a law, “California, Oregon, Washington state and New Jersey. Three states and Washington, D.C., also allow gender-neutral driver licenses.”
As National Review reported after the New York City Council passed the bill in September, before de Blasio signed it, “Under current law, transgender New Yorkers must submit documentation from a physician certifying their non-binary status. But under the new legislation, set to take effect January 1, 2019, those born in New York City will be permitted to submit an affidavit requesting a gender-identity change absent a doctor’s note.”