New York Is Closer To Making Birth Certificates More Inclusive

The New York City council has passed a bill that would provide a non-binary option on birth certificates.

New York is one step closer to making its legal identification process more inclusive to non-binary residents. Following a vote on Wednesday, the New York City Council passed a bill that would give New Yorkers who identify with multiple genders, or as neither male or female, the option to identify as "x."

The bill, which still needs to be signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio, would also allow non-binary locals to change the gender identified on their birth certificate without approval from a doctor. 

"There are plenty of New Yorkers who don't identify as either male or female," NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson said in a conference, according to NBC News. "Gender is a spectrum for many folks, and it's not a fixed thing."

The bill marks an important move towards allowing non-binary people to be legally identified as they prefer to be. Johnson also suggests that if passed, the legislation could go a long way towards providing a stronger sense of safety in the public life of those who don't conform to either gender or conform to both. 

"To actually have a certificate that matches who you are, it's not just the importance of unlocking the things you deserve," the speaker said. "It also gives that individual a level of internal comfort, a level of safety, that they're going to be OK when they're in average, everyday situations — to not be harassed and to not be questioned, 'Is that who you really are?'"

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Up until 2014, New Yorkers were required to show proof of hormone treatment or sex-change surgery in order to legally change the gender on their birth certificate. Johnson was among the local politicians who worked to overturn the requirement.

He, along with Mayor de Blasio, first proposed the recently passed bill earlier this summer. It has continued to garner support from city officials since then. According to the New York Daily News, the Council passed the legislation by an overwhelming vote of 41 for and six against. De Blasio is expected to sign the bill into law in the coming weeks. 

Cover image via  Patricia Marks / Shutterstock.

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