Gender neutral Birth Certificates: Differences by State

As the views of Americans on gender shift, so do the laws across the country. People who were born in California, Washington, New Jersey, Oregon, New York and the District of Columbia, and do not identify as male or female, can now opt for a third gender category X on their birth certificates.

The term non-binary includes any person who identifies with a gender that falls outside of the traditional male/female or man/woman box. This new law is also is also inclusionary for those born intersex, meaning they have ambiguous genitalia or sexual characteristics.

LGBTQ advocates have been compelling lawmakers to allow identity documents to be more easily changed to match gender identity. Defending that strict male and female categories are a form of discrimination against transgender and gender fluid people that label them against their will.

As this new bill gains strength and the East Coast, after having found success in Oregon, California, and Washington State, it is also a significant step for the movement as it provides national recognition for non-binary genders.

Table of contents

  1. Non-binary birth certificates in California
  2. How long does it take to get the physical copy of your child’s birth certificate
  3. How to get a newborn's birth certificate
  4. Non-binary birth certificates, ID laws and policies per State

Non-binary birth certificates in California

The state of California nos longer define gender as just male or female. This extends beyond birth certificates, beginning in 2019, official documents (driver’s licenses and State ID) will recognize non-binary as a third gender.

The Gender Recognition Act, not only allows for a third gender choice on birth certificates and driver’s licenses but also facilitates the process for the transgender community to modify their gender on documents. It puts an end to the requirements of sworn written documents provided by their doctors and is replaced by an affidavit by the individual in which they declare that the change aligns with their gender identity.

With this measure, California follows Oregon and Washington, who already recognize non-binary individuals on driver’s licenses and State ID’s. However, it was the first state to extend it to birth certificates.

Non-binary birth certificates in New York

New York City passed a new law that allows non-binary and gender-nonconforming people to obtain birth certificates that align with their gender identity, with a personal affidavit. Similar to California, no document from a doctor is required to change the sex listed on their birth certificate, making it easier for both transgender people and those defining as non-binary or gender fluid.

In a statement to the press, Council Speaker Corey Johnson Speaker Johnson, who announced the new law, said that the legislation “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.”

New York City joins other East Side states in their strides to create more inclusive laws. This June, Maine followed suit and started allowing an “X’ on driver’s licenses, as do Vermont (starting July 2019), Utah and Minnesota.

Please note that New York City and New York State have separate departments handling birth certificates. Currently, only those born in NYC can obtain birth certificates with the third gender option. However, all those born in the State of New York can obtain an ID that reflects their gender identity.

Neutral birth certificates in New Jersey

In July 2018, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a comprehensive birth certificate law which allows people to choose “male,” “female,” or “undesignated/ non-binary,” in the sex field, which became effective on 1 February, 2019. Upon signing the legislation, Governor Murphy said, "Today is an important day for New Jersey as we continue to strive toward equality for all of our residents, regardless of sex or gender expression,"

Having a third option in the sex category will allow babies that are born intersex to be given time to determine how they identify themselves, and families who want to raise their children outside the typical binary system to have that option.

The states mentioned join Washington D.C. which allows for the X gender on both birth certificates and personal ID’s.

Non-binary birth certificates, ID laws and policies per State

Laws and policies are changing nationwide for non-binary gender markers. New York City, Washington state and New Jersey allow gender-neutral birth certificates. California and Oregon offer both gender-neutral photo IDs and birth certificates, and other five States offer gender-neutral driver’s licenses.

Below you will find a comprehensive table with all the updates regarding gender non-binary policies.

Non-Binary Gender Markers by State
State Non-Binary Birth Certificates Non-Binary Driver's License / State ID
Alabama Not Available Not Available
Alaska Not Available Not Available
Arizona Not Available Non-binary ID and Death Certificate in the Arizona legislature
Arkansas Not Available Available
California Available Available
Colorado Available Not Available
Connecticut Not Available Not Available
Delaware Not Available Not Available
D.C. Available Available
Florida Not Available Not Available
Georgia Not Available Not Available
Hawaii Not Available Not Available
Idaho Not Available Not Available
Illinois Not Available Not Available
Indiana Not Available Not Available
Iowa Not Available Not Available
Kansas Not Available Not Available
Kentucky Not Available Not Available
Louisiana Not Available Not Available
Maine Not Available Available
Maryland Not Available Not Available
Massachusetts Not Available Bill (S.2562) passed Senate 6/28/2018
Michigan Available Not Available
Minnesota Not Available Available
Mississippi Not Available Not Available
Missouri Not Available Not Available
Montana Not Available Not Available
Nebraska Not Available Not Available
Nevada Not Available Not Available
New Hampshire Not Available Not Available
New Jersey Available Not Available
New Mexico Not Available Not Available
New York Only available for those born in New York City Non-binary ID and Death Certificate in the NY legislature
North Carolina Not Available Not Available
North Dakota Not Available Not Available
Ohio Not Available Not Available
Oklahoma Not Available Not Available
Oregon Available Available
Pennsylvania Not Available Not Available
Rhode Island Not Available Not Available
South Carolina Not Available Not Available
South Dakota Not Available Not Available
Tennessee Not Available Not Available
Texas Not Available Not Available
Utah Not Available Available
Vermont Not Available Available starting July 2019
Virginia Not Available Not Available
Washington Available Not Available
West Virginia Not Available Not Available
Wisconsin Not Available Not Available
Wyoming Not Available Not Available