New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has backed calls for the introduction of a “third gender” option for birth certificates. Under a new proposal supported de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, people born in New York would be able to select this “non-binary” identity category known as “X” to appear on their certification of birth. The measure would be introduced in order to accommodate those who do not identify as either male or female.
“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,” de Blasio said, according to CBS New York.
“This groundbreaking legislation will make New York City birth certificates more inclusive for all and will send a powerful signal to the world that New York City government works for everyone,” Johnson said during a City Hall press conference Monday, as reported by the New York Post. As part of the new plan, New Yorkers would no longer be required to present a letter from a physician or an affidavit by a licensed health care provider in order to change their gender on the government form.
“What could be a more basic human right than allowing transgender New Yorkers to state their gender identity on a birth certificate?” said New York’s first lady Chirlane McCray. “We know that being able to live your authentic gender and gender expression is critical to physical and mental health,” added Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett. “Now more than ever, we must ensure that all people can live their best and healthiest lives.”
The city’s Board of Health is set to consider the same changes at a meeting on Tuesday, and will take a vote in September.
Rules relating to parents who do not desire to enter a gender would remain the same. Under the current system, these parents can document their child’s birth with four asterisks as an interim measure until their kids are old enough to choose for themselves which gender they seek to identify with.
Should the proposal pass, the city would join California, Washington and Oregon in this extraordinary overhaul of birth documentation.
Back in December 2014, the Council approved controversial legislation that allows transgender residents to change their gender to male or female on their birth certificates without being required to undergo gender reassignment surgery. Johnson has said that the 2014 legislation remains “one of the things I’m most proud of.”
Between January 2015 and March 2017, 731 New Yorkers got their birth certificates “changed and corrected them in a way that matched how they feel about themselves,” according to Johnson.