New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed a bill adding the gender marker ‘X’ alongside ‘M’ and ‘F’ on official documents, in a move meant to simplify the process of identification for non-binary, gender non-conforming and transgender individuals.
Beginning January 1, the legislation will enable people to change their gender marker to ‘X’ on their birth certificate simply by submitting a personal affidavit and paying a $50 fee, without the need for medical consultation.
“Everyone has a right to their own identity. Everyone has a right to be themselves. That’s why New Yorkers can now change their gender to M, F, or X on their birth certificate. To our transgender and gender non-binary neighbours, New York City sees you and has your back,” de Blasio said in a speech on Tuesday.
“This change may seem small but it is monumental,” said Tanya Asapansa-Johnson Walker, the co-founder of the New York Transgender Advocacy Group who spoke at the event, quoted in The Huffington Post.
“Imagine having to out yourself over and over and over again to strangers,” Walker continued, adding: “Future generations will not have to suffer.”
Non-binary actor Asia Kate Dillon also spoke at the event, reiterating the importance of identifying with a gender marker other than ‘M’ or ‘F’ as a step towards equality.
“On my birth certificate, next to the ‘S’ for sex, there is an ‘F’ for female. I was assigned female at birth. A person’s assigned sex is used to determine their gender identity,” Dillon said.
The Orange is the New Black star continued: “The ability to change that mark, to change that ‘F’ to an ‘X’ as a way of eschewing the binary systems of male and female and man and woman is an essential steps towards the breaking down of binary ideological systems, created to justify and uphold social, political and economic oppression.
“Systems which result ultimately—and this is a truth no one can escape—in the separation of us all, everyone of us, ourselves and our humanity.
“Changing the ‘F’ to an ‘X’ would not only be a validation of my reality, it will allow me to be seen as a human being first.”
The legislation was introduced in June by City Council Speaker Cory Johnson, and was passed with a 41-6 vote in September.
“New York City just became more inclusive,” Johnson wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, celebrating the signing of the law.
In introducing the change, the city joins four other states in the US—California, Washington, New Jersey and Oregon—already offering the marker ‘X’ on official documents.