New York City Birth Certificates Now Have a Gender-Neutral Option

It is now much easier for people to match their birth certificates to their gender

(Marc Bruxelle /

As of January 1, 2019, New Yorkers can change the gender on their birth certificates to X, a non-gender specific third option if they do not identify as men or women.

It is also much easier for people who were born in New York City to match their birth certificates to their gender identity by being able to self-attest to their gender. People can apply to amend the gender marker on their birth certificates by submitting a notarized affidavit that attests the gender marker change is to affirm their gender identity.

"Transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers deserve the right to choose how they identify and to live with respect and dignity," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a New York City press release.

Before the new law was passed in September 2018, medical and mental health professionals first had to attest to an individual’s gender identity and sign documents before people were permitted to amend the gender marker on their birth certificates.

“New Yorkers deserve a birth certificate that reflects and affirms their lived reality,” said New York City first lady Chirlane McCray in the press release. "No one should have to claim a false identity because the government refuses to acknowledge gender fluidity.”

The new X option will not be available at the time of birth, but there will be an option to amend youth birth certificates, Michael Lanzer a spokesman from the New York City Health Department told CNN.

The new law finally recognizes that transgender and gender non-binary people are the best equipped to say who they are and will specifically help people in accessing housing, employment, and healthcare. Mismatched identity documents can and has led to discrimination, harassment, and mistreatment. This will hopefully be a thing of the past.

“This bold new policy advances the fight for equality and makes our City fairer for all people,” said de Blasio.

“This simple change will help safeguard the rights of New Yorkers of all gender identities, especially transgender and gender non-conforming people. With birth certificates that correctly reflect many more people’s gender identities, New Yorkers will finally have accurate documents that are necessary for registering for school, obtaining health insurance, and applying for jobs,” Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union said in the NYC press release.

This new law in NYC is similar to ones on the books in California, Oregon, Washington DC, and in February, New Jersey for birth certificates. Oregon, Maine, California, and Washington, D.C also allow gender changes for driver’s licenses.

New York State still requires a physician's signature for a gender change on all state-issued documents including driver's licenses.

As many states are revoking protections for transgender and non-binary people, it is good to see New York City upholding the right to human dignity for its residents. Everyone has a right to a birth certificate that matches who they are.

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