ALBANY – Non-binary and intersex people will soon be able to use “X” instead of “M” for male or “F” for female on their New York driver’s license thanks to a new state law.
Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the gender recognition bill Thursday after state legislature approved it earlier this month, paving the way for the DMV to offer the “X” designation to those who do not identify as exclusively male or identify female.
The new law also makes it easier for transgender people to change their names without discrimination by removing the requirement to have their address and name printed in the newspaper, while creating a new process in which they can petition and seal the court can.
The law also provides a simplified procedure for changing the name or gender reassignment on a birth certificate, either for the registrant or for the mother or father who can apply for the title of “parent” instead.
Cuomo signed the law marking the 10th anniversary of same-sex marriage in New York, a landmark for the LGBTQ movement.
“Gender recognition is the next step forward,” Cuomo said at an event in Manhattan on Thursday. “The Gender Recognition Act removes barriers that undermine the health, safety and equality of people based on their gender. It reaffirms basic human dignity.”
The Assembly approved the bill on June 10 by 113 votes to 36, while the Senate voted 46 to 17 on June 8.
The new law will come into force in 180 days. An “X” mark was already allowed on birth certificates, and the new law will also extend it to driver’s licenses.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Daniel O’Donnell, who sponsored same-sex marriage law a decade ago, and Senator Brad Hoylman. Both are Manhattan Democrats.
“I am proud of our advances in LGBTQ rights over the past decade, and I am deeply honored to continue this work with the Gender Recognition Act, which makes trans people’s lives safer, reduces stigma and identifies trans people. People confirmed, “O’Donnell said in a statement.
The new law comes as the state has been criticized in recent months by some members of the LGBTQ community for government proposals forcing people to choose male or female as a gender designation.
In March, the New York Civil Liberties Union and Legal Services of NYC sued the state agency for temporary disability assistance because the agency’s computer application – used for food aid, Medicaid, and other benefits – did not offer a non-binary option.
Jon Campbell is the Editor of the New York State Team for the USA TODAY Network. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @JonCampbellGAN.
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