New Year brings new gender option — ‘X’ — to NYC
NYC is now a 3-sex town
People born in New York City who don’t identify as either male or female can now change the gender on their birth certificates to “X.”
The city’s Health Department announced on Monday that beginning Tuesday, “non-binary” individuals will have an easier time with their documentation. Choices are now Male, Female and X.
Transgender is a term for people whose gender identity does not align with the sex they were assigned at birth.
A survey of transgender individuals carried out by the NYC Comptroller’s Office found that 9 percent of respondents live the Bronx, 29 percent in Brooklyn, 48 percent in Manhattan, 12 percent in Queens and 3 percent in Staten Island.
The change allows individuals to submit a simple, notarized affidavit affirming their gender identity. People don’t have to have surgery, change their name, or — as formerly required — submit an affidavit signed by a licensed health care provider.
Transgender individuals have often been subject to bullying and discrimination. In 2017, the Trump-Pence administration rescinded protections for transgender students in schools.
Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot called the new option “a less burdensome way to change one’s gender on their birth certificate.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the bill into law in October.
“Transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers deserve the right to choose how they identify and to live with respect and dignity,” the mayor said in a statement on Monday.
De Blasio’s wife Chirlane McCray, co-chair of the Commission on Gender Equity, said, “No one should have to claim a false identity because the government refuses to acknowledge gender fluidity.” McCray identified as a lesbian in the 1970s, before she met and married de Blasio in 1991, according to Out.com.
“No one can tell you who you are, and only you can decide your identity,” said Speaker Corey Johnson, who came out as gay while still in high school.
It’s been getting easier for fluidly gendered individuals in the city for several years. In 2015, the city’s Health Department and the City Council approved amendments that removed the requirements for a legal name change and surgery before changing one’s official sex. Since then, the department has issued more than 1,200 birth certificates amended to reflect a different gender identity, or about 300 per year, according to a city estimate.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System estimates 0.53 percent of U.S. adults identified as transgender.
Carrie Davis, chair of the Health Department’s advisory board on the project said in a statement that the legislation would help ensure that some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers have an “opportunity to get a job, acquire a place to live, to be able to travel or even being able to obtain health care, among many other things.”
Gov. David Paterson signed into law in New York state the first statute to include transgender protections in September 2010.
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