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New Jersey is set to introduce gender neutral birth certificates

Josh Jackman January 30, 2019

Gender-neutral birth certificates will be available in New Jersey on February 1 (Drew Angerer/Getty)

New Jersey is set to become the sixth US state to offer gender neutral birth certificates.

From February 1, parents in the northeastern state will be able to choose from three options: male, female or undesignated/non-binary, according to local station News 12 New Jersey.

The Babs Siperstein Law, which was signed into law in July, will also make it possible for trans people to change their official gender without having gender confirmation surgery.

Members of the transgender community and their supporters hold a rally and march to City Hall before the mid-term elections to protest against what they say are continual attacks from the Trump administration, which states like New Jersey have moved to somewhat counteract with law changes
Trans children will be able to change their gender without surgery, thanks to the New Jersey law change. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty)

New Jersey is set to join other states which have already added a non-binary option to official documents, namely California, Maine, Washington, Oregon and Arkansas.

New York City and Washington DC also offer a gender neutral option on birth certificates.

Trans activists in New Jersey  applaud move

Advocates for trans equality have praised the state’s new law.

Speaking to US talk show Today, Garden State Equality policy director Aaron Potenza said: “You often use a birth certificate to enrol in school.

“Until you have a license that is your ID. For people under 16, they often have to show their birth certificate, and they are coming up against issues.”

“You shouldn’t have to produce medical records. You shouldn’t have to say: ‘I had this surgery’ to have your identity affirmed.”

— New Jersey trans activist Aaron Potenza

“When the birth certificate shows what the gender at birth is, not every school is going to treat them fairly,” he added.

Potenza also welcomed the legislative shift which will allow people to change their official gender without having to seek medical treatment.

He said: “It is invasive. It is burdensome. You shouldn’t have to produce medical records. You shouldn’t have to say ‘I had this surgery’ to have your identity affirmed.

“If the way you live and now see yourself and present yourself in the world does not match that document, you can have an issue.”

Grace Mauceri, whose 14-year-old son is trans, pointed out that without being able to define their own gender pre-surgery, children who present as one gender could be revealed to be trans by their documents.

She said this “could even out the children who chose to be more private,” adding that “it is disconcerting and unsettling when you don’t have your legal documents match your identity. It feels unsafe.”

Mauceri’s son said he hoped the new law would facilitate an improvement in the treatment of trans people in New Jersey.

“I hope that people realise that being trans is okay, that being trans is normal,” he said.

“If we could just accept each other as ourselves and let us have the papers the make us feel at ease, that’s huge for us.”

More: birth certificates, gender, gender neutral, Law, New Jersey, non-binary, Trans, Transgender, US, US

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