New York City is the most recent city to allow a third gender option on birth certificates for persons who do not identify as male or female. They will be classified as gender X.
NBC News reported that the city council and board of health in the nation's largest city voted Wednesday to include the third gender marker on birth certificates as of Jan. 1, 2019. The new policy will no longer require persons who identify as such to provide a note from a doctor or a health care provider's affidavit in order to make such a change.
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, a Democrat, backed the policy earlier this summer, noting in statement that the city's policy will "allow transgender and gender nonconforming New Yorkers to live with the dignity and respect they deserve."
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson introduced the bill in June and lauded its passage, saying it was a historic day for New York "in its role as a worldwide champion for inclusivity and equality."
Toby Adams, executive director of the Intersex & Genderqueer Recognition Project, also hailed the passage, since it's "damaging legally and psychologically to have your gender identity misidentified, and there are so many places where we have to show our ID," he said.
Already in New York City, the human rights law code requires employers, landlords, and all businesses and professionals to use an employee's, tenant's, customer's, or client's preferred name, pronouns — including 'ze' and 'hir' if so specified — and titles regardless of the person's biological sex. Penalties for failing to comply, "misgendering," could result in thousands of dollars in fines.
With this latest move, New York City, which is home to approximately 8.6 million people, joins a handful of other politically liberal states — New Jersey, Oregon, California, and Washington — that also allow a nonbinary designation on birth certificates. A few states and Washington, D.C. allow for such gender markers on driver's licenses.
Although transgender and intersex are often conflated in political discourse, the two are not the same.
Intersex refers to chromosomal abnormalities in individuals with conditions like Klinefelter's or Turner syndrome whereas transgender refers to persons who, despite having the XX or XY chromosomes indicating female or male, believe they are the opposite sex. What is known as a nonbinary identification, meaning neither male nor female or a mixture of both, does not actually exist in material reality as human beings because, like the rest of mammals, they are a sexually dimorphic species.
Earlier this year, Ontario issued its first nonbinary birth certificate to a filmmaker who uses the plural pronouns "they" and "them." In the summer of 2017, Canada allowed the X gender marker to be placed on passports.
In Germany last month, the government moved to allow a third gender marker on official documents in compliance with a November 2017 court ruling from the Federal Constitutional Court, a decision which held that unless people had the option to select a third gender identity other than male or female, gender entries should be done away with altogether. The third marker there is called gender "diverse."