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Gender 'X': New York City to add third gender option to birth certificates

The city will soon join Oregon, California, Washington and New Jersey in allowing individuals to choose a nonbinary gender marker on their birth certificate.

People born in New York City who don't identify as male or female will soon be able to select a nonbinary gender category on their birth certificates.

The New York City Council and Board of Health voted on Wednesday to include a third gender category, "X," on birth certificates starting Jan. 1, 2019. Furthermore, the legislation will discontinue the need for a doctor’s note or health care provider’s affidavit to change one’s gender marker.

Image: Corey Johnson
Councilman Corey Johnson attends High Line At The Rail Yards Dedication And Opening Ceremony at Highline in New York on September 20, 2014.Jason Carter Rinaldi / Getty Images file

"Today is a historic day for New York in its role as a worldwide champion for inclusivity and equality," City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who introduced the legislation in June, said in a statement sent to NBC News. "I especially want to thank the LGBTQ community for their advocacy and work on this issue to keep New York City in its rightful place as a leader in human rights."

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, a Democrat, has already come out in support of the bill, saying in a statement this summer that the legislation will "allow transgender and gender nonconforming New Yorkers to live with the dignity and respect they deserve." He is expected to sign the legislation soon, according to a city official.

Toby Adams, executive director of the Intersex & Genderqueer Recognition Project (IGRP), which advocates for the rights of nonbinary people, applauded the legislation’s passage. Adams said the inability of nonbinary people to have identification that accurately reflects their identity is "disrespectful to their humanity."

"It’s really damaging legally and psychologically to have your gender identity misidentified, and there are so many places where we have to show our ID," Adams told NBC News.

Starting in January, New York City will join the states of Oregon, California, Washington and New Jersey in allowing individuals to choose a nonbinary gender option on their birth certificate.

Maine, Oregon and Washington, D.C., currently enable residents to opt for a nonbinary gender marker on their driver’s license, and California will join them starting in January. A number of other states are currently considering third-gender identification options, according to the IGRP, which has been tracking these legislative changes.