Respect Equality

‘X’ gender designation will soon be available for New York residents

"Every person, regardless of their gender identity or expression, deserves to have an identity document that reflects who they are,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said Friday.
(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Story at a glance


  • New York residents beginning June 24 will have the option to select a gender-neutral “X” gender marker on their IDs, the governor’s office said Friday. Transgender residents will also be able to self-select their gender without providing additional documentation.

  • The change is part of the state’s Gender Recognition Act, which was signed into law last year.

  • Other states, like Oklahoma and Montana, have launched efforts to make it more difficult for transgender and nonbinary people to correct their identity documents to align with their gender identity.

New York residents beginning in June will have the option to select a gender-neutral “X” gender marker on their driver’s licenses, birth certificates or other identification documents, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) office announced Friday. Transgender New Yorkers will also be able to self-select their gender designation for the first time.

“Every person, regardless of their gender identity or expression, deserves to have an identity document that reflects who they are,” Hochul said Friday in a news release. Residents will be able to choose the “X” gender designation beginning June 24, when the state’s Gender Recognition Act goes into effect.

Under the measure, signed into law by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) last year, state-issued licenses and IDs may be amended to display M (male), F (female) or “X” gender markers upon request with “no additional documents required.” Current state law requires residents to provide a letter from a doctor stating that their preferred gender is their “predominant gender” in order to correct their identity documents.

That compares with more stringent requirements in other states that make it more difficult – and in some cases impossible – for transgender and nonbinary people to correct identity documents like driver’s licenses or birth certificates to match their gender identity.


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Earlier this week, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services said transgender Montanans may not alter the sex designation on their birth certificate even if they receive gender-affirming surgery because sex is “an immutable genetic fact.” Gender, the department argued, is merely a social “construct.”

“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,” New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman, who sponsored the Senate version of the Gender Recognition Act, said Friday.

“Each and every New Yorker should be recognized for who they are by their government,” he said.

New York residents with an existing driver’s license, learner’s permit or non-driver identity document may alter their gender designation through an application process available at all state Department of Motor Vehicle offices once the law takes effect, Hochul’s office said Friday. Those applying for their license, permit or non-driver ID for the first time will be able to self-select their gender as well.

New Yorkers will also have the option to change their gender designation on existing IDs online through the department’s website beginning in July.

The change comes as part of a larger statewide effort to advance LGBTQ+ rights, and Hochul earlier this year signed off on a state budget that increases funding for the Department of Health by roughly $8 million to better support LGBTQ+ people through direct health services, cultural competency training and transgender wellness initiatives.

State agencies were also recently required to provide an option for New York residents to choose the “X” gender marker on all state forms that collect gender or sex information. Under the new budget, transgender New Yorkers are able to change their name or gender designation on marriage certificates without leaving their deadnames – or their names before they transitioned – on them.