This afternoon, Mayor Bill de Blasio will sign legislation sponsored by Speaker Corey Johnson that will "allow individuals to change the sex designation on their birth record to conform to the individual’s gender identity" and allow people not identifying as male or female to obtain a gender-neutral “X” on their New York City birth certificates through self-attestation. Under current law individuals correcting their birth certificate gender must submit affidavits from doctors/medical professionals which presents unnecessary financial and bureaucratic hurdles. Introduced by the Mayor and Speaker in June and passed by the Council in September, the new law will go into effect on January 1, 2019 and is an important step forward for the city at a time when non-binary and all LGBTQ people are seeing regressive, threatening moves on the federal level.
We applaud the work of the Mayor and Speaker to help all New Yorkers live their best and healthiest lives as well as the community advocates whose work and testimony helped move this into law. We further applaud the bill co-sponsors: Karen Koslowitz, Ben Kallos, Carlina Rivera, Brad S. Lander, Daniel Dromm, Helen K. Rosenthal, Costa G. Constantinides, Stephen T. Levin and Health Committee Chairperson Mark Levine. It should be noted that this bill did not pass unanimously and that there are Democrats that voted against the bill. To see how your Councilmember voted, click here, then click "Action Details" in the "Approved by Council" line.
There is more work to do on this issue on the state and federal levels. Legislation to improve the process for New York Driver's Licenses remains unpassed by the Senate in Albany, and the progress made under President Obama for US Passports has stalled under the current administration. All the more reason to flip them Blue in November.
This progress set in motion by the Mayor, Speaker, and Members of the Council underlines support for our community and highlights the amazing work by advocates in these arenas. While there will always be more needs for the future, let's be proud of the progress and promise this legislation represents today.