Gender is a topic that has been debated and fought over for centuries. Not only do we live in a society where gender norms and constructs are actively threatening to be pressed upon us, but we are also legally bound to a gender within the binary on partically every form of identification.
For many of us in the LGBTQ+ community, particularly those who identify as transgender or gender non-binary, it can be difficult or nearly impossible to get legal documentation that matches how they self-identify.
The newest movement to try and rectify this growing concern of people being legally misgendered is by creating state and city laws that allow for gender neutral birth certificates. At this point in time, people in places that recognize the legal gender neutral marker, gender “X”, can now easily attain gender neutral birth certificates if they are 18 or older.
So far this process has already helped hundreds obtain a legal gender marker that more closely correlates to how they self-identify. Additionally, parents can opt to now mark their new born babies as being gender neutral, with the gender “X’ marker on their birth certificates.
New York City celebrated the New Year by becoming the newest state to offer gender neutral birth certificates. At the beginning of January Mayor Bill de Blasio made a statement on twitter indicating his excitement for his city’s progress that was made in this area of concern.
“To all trans and nonbinary New Yorkers: We see you, hear you and respect you,” the NYC mayor wrote, “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.”
The only other current states that recognize gender “X” are Oregon, California, and Washington. However, several others states and cities are set to follow suit this year. New Jersey is set to implement the law as early as February. And there are talks for upcoming city law proposals to allow gender “X” on legal identification documents in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
While gender neutral birth certificates and the gender “X” marker don’t resolve all the legal struggles those in the LGBTQ+ face in relation to their gender identity, the fact that it is starting to become more widespread and readily available to more people in more locations is a huge milestone.