The beginning of 2019 saw a handful of laws go into effect in New York City, but one piece of legislation has transgender advocates particularly excited: residents of the five boroughs can now obtain birth certificates with a neutral "X" gender marker to denote a non-binary or gender non-conforming identity.
As NewNowNext previously reported, the initial bill was approved by New York's city council in September 2018 and signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio later that year. It took effect this Tuesday, January 1, 2019, meaning New Yorkers can now change their legal gender markers to M for male, F for female, or X for gender non-binary or gender non-conforming.
In 2014, the city of New York got rid of an outdated policy that permitted gender marker changes only if transgender New Yorkers underwent gender-confirming surgeries. Officials instead required a note or affidavit from a medical doctor or mental health provider, according to the Associated Press.
In addition to adding a gender-neutral option, the new law has nixed that requirement, allowing trans or gender non-conforming New Yorkers to simply attest that the new gender marker they want affirms their "true gender identity."
Out NYC council speaker Corey Johnson (pictured above), who introduced the bill last June, addressed its importance at a City Hall press conference in the fall of 2018:
Gender is a spectrum for many folks, and it’s not a fixed thing. So for New Yorkers who are transgender, who are gender non-conforming, who are non-binary, to have an option to better self-identify on such an important document, their birth certificate, unlocks all sorts of things for them.