NEW YORK (WTEN) — According to the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH), New Yorkers will now have the option to choose “X” as an option to signify another gender other than male or female on birth, marriage, and death certificates.

“Birth, marriage, and death certificates are more than just documents, they allow someone to self-identify and to be seen for who they really are,” acting State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. “Non-binary and gender nonconforming people frequently experience widespread discrimination and harassment, which is often exacerbated by inaccurate identification.”

How to change a birth certificate

According to the NYS DOH, New Yorkers 17 or older can change their gender designation on their birth certificate, including requests for an “X” gender designation. The NYS DOH also says for those 16 and under, a parent(s), or legal guardian(s) named on the birth certificate of a minor can change the gender designation on the minor’s birth certificate, including requests for an “X” gender designation. Those looking to do so can find the applications online at the NYS DOH website. Completed applications and forms should be mailed to New York State Department of Health Vital Records, Fulfillment Unit, P.O. Box 2602, Albany, NY 12220-2602.

How to change a marriage certificate

According to the NYS DOH, the amended Domestic Relations Law requires that revised marriage certificates be issued to properly reflect a documented change in a name or gender designation. They say all documentation must be submitted to the town or city clerk where the original marriage license was applied for or purchased, and once completed, the town or city clerk will issue a new Certificate of Marriage. Documentation must consist of the following:

  • A judgment, order, or decree affirming a change of name or gender designation of either party to a marriage.
  • An amended birth certificate demonstrating a change of name or gender designation.
  • In the case of a change of gender designation, a notarized affidavit from the individual attesting to their change of gender designation. DOH-1827 – Affidavit for Correction of Marriage can be used for this purpose. 

How to change a death certificate

If a loved one has already made a change to their gender designation on their NYS birth certificate before their death, this correction can be made with supporting documentation, according to the NYS DOH. However, if no formal gender designation change was made on their NYS birth certificate before their death, this change cannot be made after death. The following people can request a death certificate amendment:

  • The decedent’s spouse on record  
  • A parent, child, or legal guardian of the person 
  • A sibling of the decedent
  • The informant if within six months of death
  • The funeral firm that handled the disposition if within six months of death
  • Medical certifier who handled the case
  • Anyone with a court order

“Being able to select ‘X’ gender on a birth, marriage or death certificate marks another historic moment in our efforts to promote equality and respect for the LGBTQ+ community,” State Department of Health Deputy Commissioner for Health Equity and Human Rights Johanne Morne said. “Every New Yorker needs to have identifying documents that accurately reflect who they are.”