A new city proposal would allow adults who don't identify as male or female to select a gender of "X" on their birth certificates, while letting transgender New Yorkers change their gender markers without a doctor's note.
Announced Monday by Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, the proposal mirrors similar efforts to make birth certificates more inclusive in states like California, Oregon and Washington. The Board of Health will review the proposal on Tuesday, before a bill is introduced in the City Council later this month.
"Pride Month is a time to celebrate how far we've come in the fight for equality, and re-affirm our commitment to protecting all New Yorkers from discrimination," the mayor said in a statement. “This proposal will allow transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers to live with the dignity and respect they deserve, and make our City fairer.”
"Now more than ever, it's important for us as elected officials to show our constituents that we see them, we have their backs, and we respect them for who they are," added Speaker Johnson.
Four years ago, Johnson introduced legislation removing a city law requiring proof of convertive surgery before any changes can be made to a birth certificate. The law still mandates that a person hoping to switch their gender receive approval from a physician or an affidavit by a licensed health care provider, though that would no longer be the case if the proposal passes.
Parents who don’t wish to identify the gender of their baby can designate their child’s sex as undetermined or unknown, under the current city law.
In 2016, amid nationwide controversy on the subject of transgender bathroom use, the City Council passed legislation requiring all existing single-stall restrooms to be gender neutral, and created the Advisory Board on Gender Marker Change Requirements.
"Today’s proposal regarding non-binary gender identity and self-affirmation continues to modernize New York City’s birth certificates to meet current scientific and medical standards,” said Carrie Davis, a health care consultant and chair of that board. "This is particularly vital during this period of insecurity regarding national human rights protections for transgender Americans."
According to the Human Rights Campaign, violence against transgender people—specifically black and Hispanic transgender women—has increased in the last few years, with hate incidents spiking since the election of President Trump.