The New York City Council approved legislation Wednesday that will add a third gender to birth certificates for New Yorkers who don’t identify as male or female.
The resolution, which passed 41-6, creates a “non-binary” gender option referred to as “X” and received the backing of Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Council speaker Cory Johnson, who introduced the legislation in June, said he hopes it will make “New York birth certificates more inclusive for all and will send a powerful signal to the world that New York City government works for everyone.”
“Today is a historic day for New York in its role as a worldwide champion for inclusivity and equality,” Johnson said in a statement sent to NBC News. “I especially want to thank the LGBTQ community for their advocacy and work on this issue to keep New York City in its rightful place as a leader in human rights.”
Under current law, transgender New Yorkers must submit documentation from a physician certifying their non-binary status. But under the new legislation, set to take effect January 1, 2019, those born in New York City will be permitted to submit an affidavit requesting a gender-identity change absent a doctor’s note.
Councilman Robery Holden (D., Queens) voted against the bill due to “public safety” concerns born of a lack of oversight.
“Just having anyone – without going through a doctor – say they’re another gender or ‘X’; that could lead to abuse and all sorts of problems,” Holden told the New York Post. “We need more oversight.”
“How does ‘X’ describe a person? Don’t we have to have some standards and order?” he asked.
Oregon, California, Washington, and New Jersey currently allow residents to select a non-binary-gender option on their birth certificates.