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Gender 'X': New York City adds gender-neutral option to birth certificates

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 1/3/2019 Josh Hafner
Bill de Blasio et al. walking on a city street © Provided by USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc.

New York City now offers a gender-neutral option on birth certificates for residents who don't identify as male or female. It's called "X."

As of this week, adults over 18 can alter their birth certificates to "X" so long as they attest via a form that change "is to reflect my true gender identity." New York Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the move into law Tuesday, ABC reports

"To all trans and non-binary New Yorkers: We see you, hear you and respect you," the mayor said last week on Twitter. "Starting in 2019, all New Yorkers will be able to change their gender on their birth certificate to M, F or X — without a doctor's note."

Prior to 2014, New York City let people alter their gender on a birth certificate only after gender reassignment surgery. After that, a doctor's note was required.

Now parents can choose "X" for their children, and adults can select the marker for themselves as long as they attest the change is "not for any fraudulent purpose," the form states

New York City joins states California, Oregon and Washington as places offering a gender-neutral option on birth certificates, with New Jersey following suit in February.

Attorney Ethan Rice of Lambda Legal, an LGBTQ rights group, told ABC that New York City's gender-neutral category remains unavailable statewide: A person may choose X on a birth certificate but not a state driver’s license.

Dr. Oxiris Barbot, New York City's health commissioner, praised the move a "a less burdensome" option for the city's transgender and non-binary residents, per Newsweek, while Melissa Sklarz, a Queens-based trans rights activist, called the move a key "next step."

"It is important that young people be empowered to explore their identities in a manner that is relevant to them," Sklarz said, according to the magazine..

More: Young, transgender and fighting a years-long battle against suicidal thoughts

More: Some Americans are denied 'lifesaving' health care because they are transgender

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Gender 'X': New York City adds gender-neutral option to birth certificates

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