New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill into law on Tuesday that adds a third gender option on birth certificates in the city.
The mayor said last week that “this is an example of respecting all New Yorkers, and giving people the freedom of self-determination and self-expression,” according to CBS New York. The third gender option, noted as “X,” is intended for gender non-conforming people.
The law also does away with the requirement that transgender people get a note from a medical professional to change their gender identity on their birth certificate, according to The New York Daily News. The change is expected to help with other forms of ID, too.
“Birth certificates are necessary to access many city services — and the gender listed on a drivers’ license or other forms official ID are generally based on what is listed on the birth certificate,” according to The New York Daily News, “meaning today’s change will make it easier for people to obtain multiple forms of ID that reflect their gender identity.”
The New York City Council and Board of Health passed the law back in mid-September, according to NBC News. It is set to go into law on Jan. 1, 2019.
But New York City isn’t the first city to do something similar — and states have implemented comparable laws as well.
In July 2017, Oregon became the first state to allow the non-binary gender option ‘X’ on identification cards and licenses, according to The Oregonian. Before, residents were required to have either a “M” or “F” on identification to reveal their gender.
David House, spokesman for the Oregon DMV, said people don’t need a doctor’s note to change their gender to ‘X’, according to The Guardian. He said in an interview with the outlet that there was “very little opposition” to adding another gender option for people.
Eighty-three comments about the law were submitted, officials at the Oregon DMV said, but only 12 people were against it, according to The Oregonian.
While Oregon was the first state to permit a third gender option on IDs, Washington, D.C., was the first city to do so.
In fact, the nation’s capitol was the first place anywhere in the U.S. to allow it, as the policy went into effect on June 27, 2017 — just days before Oregon, according to CNN. It enabled driver’s licenses and ID cards to just identify a person with the gender identifier “X.”
It was a welcome change for Nic Sakurai, who was among the first people in the U.S. to receive an “X” on government ID for their gender at the DMV in Washington, D.C., according to CNN. Sakurai said they use gender neutral pronouns and identify as “agender.”
“I don’t feel that sense of gender as something that is part of my core innate experience,” Sakurai said, according to CNN. “I’m glad to finally have an ID that actually matches who I am.”