Beginning in late June, New York state residents will have the option to select a gender-neutral "X" marker for their driver's license, birth certificate or any other official identification document, the governor's office announced Friday.
Transgender New Yorkers will also be able to select their gender designation for the first time, according to Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat.
"Every person, regardless of their gender identity or expression, deserves to have an identity document that reflects who they are," Hochul said in a news release detailing the state's Gender Recognition Act, which goes into effect on June 24.
Under the measure, signed into law last year by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, state-issued licenses and IDs can be amended to display M (male), F (female) or "X" gender markers upon request with "no additional documents required."
In New York, current state law requires residents seeking changes to their preferred gender — or away from their "predominant" gender — to provide documentation from a doctor.
In other states, though, transgender and nonbinary people must fulfill more stringent requirements to get their preferred gender on official documents, such as a driver's license or birth certificate.
Case in point: The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services prohibits transgender Montana residents from altering their sex designation on birth certificates — even after gender-affirming surgery — because sex is "an immutable genetic fact."
The MDPH argues that gender is merely a social "construct."
New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman, who sponsored the Senate version of the Gender Recognition Act, said, "I'm proud to live in and represent a state that respects and values the needs of these communities – particularly as queer, and especially transgender young people, have come under attack in recent months across our country."
Hoylman added: "Each and every New Yorker should be recognized for who they are by their government."
New York residents with a driver's license, learner's permit or non-driver identification document may alter their gender designation through an application process available at Department of Motor Vehicles buildings starting June 24, according to Hochul's office.
Those applying for their license, permit or non-driver ID for the first time will also have the choice of self-selecting their gender. Online requests for altering one's gender designation will begin processing in July.
As part of the new state budget, transgender New Yorkers are able to change their name or gender designation on marriage certificates without leaving their "deadnames" intact.
"Deadname" involves the notion of calling a transgender by their birth name, instead of acknowledging the gender transition.
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