(EDGE) As 2019 commenced, New York City also rang in a new day for trans and non-binary residents. As of January 1, people born in NYC have the legal option of specifying their gender as M, F, or X, ABC News reported.
The city's mayor, Bill de Blasio, approved the new law, with the mayor himself declaring, "Transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers deserve the right to choose how they identify and to live with respect and dignity," CNN reported.
The office of the mayor also tweeted out news of the change, the ABC and CNN reports said.
"To all trans and non-binary New Yorkers: We see you, hear you and respect you," read the tweet. "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."
Our city respects your gender identity and the right to have it affirmed on your birth certificate. Now New Yorkers can change the gender marker on their New York City birth certificates to M, F or X without a doctor's note. pic.twitter.com/hCjPMJpr8X— NYC Mayor's Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) January 1, 2019
The new freedom to specify one's own gender on a birth certificate does not extend to the state's drivers' licenses, noted USA Today, which also observed that a change to the birth certificate of an adult must be attested to so as to verify that the change is not being made "for any fraudulent purpose." Also, while parents may choose how to specify the gender of their children who already have birth certificates and are still minors, the option of changing one's gender as reflected on a birth certificate is not available to anyone under the age of 18 years. Moreover, the option of marking a child's gender as X will not be available to parents of newborns.
Four states - California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington - currently allow people to change the gender classification on their birth certificates on their own recognizance, and all of those states except Idaho offer similar gender-neutral options on birth certificates, USA Today reported, adding that New Jersey will also extend that freedom beginning next month.
LGBTQ rights advocates hailed the change. Lambda Legal's Ethan Rice said that the option is a matter of "the government... recognizing that transgender people, as citizens, are the ones who know what their identity is and are able to tell the government that really, rather than the other way around," ABC News reported.