A new law in New York state is attempting to aid non-binary people to amend vital records. 

The New York State Department of Health announced some major changes at the beginning of the year, and only recently are people becoming aware of these changes, based on social media posts of people sharing the news. 

Earlier this year, the New York State Department of Health announced that there would be a non-binary option for birth, marriage, and death certificates for New Yorkers who live outside of New York City. 

You may be familiar with the “male” and “female” distinctions on personal documents. Now, you have the option of selecting “X,” which signals another gender or undesignated gender for individuals who identify as non-binary. 

On top of that, most state agencies that collect information about a person’s gender are to provide an option to select an “X” to indicate non-binary individuals, as part of the FY 2023 State Budget.

Many people have called this change a “historic moment” to promote equality for LGBTQ+ community, and it’s a big deal to have those personal documents reflect who they actually are. 

Here’s how to change the gender on your birth certificate:

  • You must be at least 17 years old. 
    • If you are 16 or younger, a parent or legal guardian named on the birth certificate can change the gender designation on the birth certificate. 
  • A parent cannot select an “X” gender on a newborn’s birth certificate. 
    • The medical determination of sex assigned at birth will remain on the original birth certificate, which will be sealed from release. After applying for the change, a new birth certificate will be issued with the amended gender information.

The Department's Bureau of Vital Records uses the same process to adjust the gender field as it does for any corrections to birth certificates in New York state.  Instructions to request a change in your birth certificate are available here.

A certified copy of the amended certificate will be provided for free to the applicant; however, additional copies are $30.00 each. 

There are similar application forms you can use to change your gender on marriage certificates and death certificates, and you can find out more about that here.  

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