Our culture is increasingly starting to recognize that gender is a spectrum—and not always determined by what you were assigned at birth. Some places have even begun allowing transgender and gender nonbinary people to change their IDs and designate themselves as neither “M” nor “F.” And now, New Yorkers are among those who can choose a nonbinary gender designation on their birth certificates.
ABC News reports that Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a measure into law on January 1st that enables anyone born in the city to have an “X” rather than an “M” or “F” on their birth certificate. Additionally, adults wishing to change their birth certificates can now do so without a doctor’s note. Parents can’t choose to designate their child as “X” at birth, although they can change it once the child is a little older—up until the age of 18 (when individuals can then do so for themselves). The mayor’s office announced the upcoming change in a December 29th tweet.
In the same tweet, the mayor’s office shared an address from nonbinary actor Asia Kate Dillon, who called the law “an important step for equality.” They also spoke about the personal significance of being able to change their birth certificate to reflect who they are.
According to The Hill, Oregon, California, and Washington state also allow residents to choose a nonbinary gender option on their birth certificates. New Jersey recently passed a similar law as well, which will take effect in February. And according to the National Center for Transgender Equality, D.C. and six states—Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, and Oregon—offer nonbinary options for driver’s licenses as of January 2019.
N.Y.C’s new birth certificate law is a promising sign for all those who identify outside of the gender binary. Hopefully other states will follow suit—and soon.