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3 Jan, 2019 01:15

No doctor needed: NYC adds non-binary category to birth certificates

No doctor needed: NYC adds non-binary category to birth certificates

New York City has made it easier than ever to change gender legally, removing restrictions that required a doctor's note and adding a third "X" category to birth certificates to accommodate intersex and non-binary people.

New Yorkers can change their gender to "X" by merely attesting that it represents their "true gender identity," where previously they required a doctor's note to make the switch legally. Parents can opt for the "X" for their newborns without the sworn statement. Those unlucky enough to be born outside New York will have to wait for restrictions to loosen still further.

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Since 2014, New York residents have been able to legally switch genders with only a note from a medical or mental health professional. Previously, they were required to undergo surgery before they were allowed to make the switch.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's office celebrated the milestone earlier this week by tweeting a clip of a non-binary person praising the move as "an essential step toward the breaking down of binary ideological systems created in order to justify and uphold social, political, and economic oppression – systems which result ultimately in the separation of us all...from ourselves and our humanity." 

Others took a dimmer view of the move.

New York joins California, Washington, and Oregon in permitting a third category for birth certificates, while Washington, DC added an “X” option for drivers’ licenses.

Other countries have adopted similar measures with varying degrees of restriction – Germany requires a doctor’s note to swap genders or enter its “diverse” category, while Canada allows citizens to change legal gender at any time. Meanwhile, the entire European Union is way ahead of the game with an effort to remove all gendered language from their communications.

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