pride third gender
[Photo via Unsplash]

New York City just became the next location to add a third gender option to birth certificates, marking a huge victory for the LGBTQ community. NYC joins the ranks of similar passings in Oregon, Washington, D.C., Maine, Washington and California.

Mayor Bill De Blasio signed a bill Tuesday adding the option of a third gender, denoted as “X,” for gender nonconforming citizens, according to Rolling Stone. “You be you,” De Blasio says after signing the bill Tuesday. “Live your truth. And know that New York City will have your back.”

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In 2014, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson fought for a bill that eliminated the requirement that those seeking hormone therapy must first change their gender on their birth certificate. The legislation known as Intro 954-A introducing gender “X” expands on this.

The new law will go into effect Jan. 1, 2019, and De Blasio described the right to self-expression as a basic freedom.

“If you’re denied the right to express yourself, you don’t have freedom,” he says. “If you have to sit by the door of a classroom worried that someone is going to typify you the wrong way and deny your identity, you don’t have freedom. You don’t feel free.”

The law does away with the requirement transgender people must obtain a doctor’s note in order to change their identity. Instead, those who wish to change their identity can self-attest without the added step. New York City residents under 18 will still need parental consent.

Other cities and states that have introduced a third gender option

As previously mentioned, New York City is the next (of hopefully many) to pass a legislation supporting gender nonconformity. Washington, D.C. was the first city to give residents the “X” gender option on drivers’ licenses and IDs in late June 2017. Days later, Oregon became the first state and, like NYC, can do so without a doctor’s note.

In January 2018, Washington state passed a bill to allow people to identify as “X” on their birth certificate. However, new birth certificates still only list male and female options. Residents over 18 can change to “X” without a doctor’s note.

In June 2018, Maine passed a third gender legislation for IDs, and until the law goes into effect by July next year, residents who intend to choose “X” will be given a temporary sticker for their IDs that reads “gender has been changed to X – Non-binary.”

In September 2018, California passed the “Gender Recognition Act,” which allows residents to identify as nonbinary on IDs and birth certificates. The bill describes nonbinary as an “umbrella term for people with gender identities that fall somewhere outside of the traditional conceptions of strictly either female or male.”

As Rolling Stone points out, birth certificates are often required to make changes to other forms of identification. By allowing nonbinary and transgender residents to self-identify without the need of a doctor’s permission, it removes a hurdle in obtaining other identifications and services necessary for day-to-day life.

You can see De Blasio discuss the importance of introducing gender “X” below.