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
- Non-binary birth certificates in California
- How long does it take to get the physical copy of your child’s birth certificate
- How to get a newborn's birth certificate
- 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|
|Connecticut||Not Available||Not Available|
|Delaware||Not Available||Not 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|
|Maryland||Not Available||Not Available|
|Massachusetts||Not Available||Bill (S.2562) passed Senate 6/28/2018|
|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|
|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|
|Vermont||Not Available||Available starting July 2019|
|Virginia||Not Available||Not Available|
|West Virginia||Not Available||Not Available|
|Wisconsin||Not Available||Not Available|
|Wyoming||Not Available||Not Available|