Non-binary, transgender Long Islanders celebrate passage of Gender Recognition Act
Non-binary and transgender Long Islanders are celebrating the passage of the Gender Recognition Act.
Charlie Arrowood, of Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, who identifies as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, has been working for years to get the Gender Recognition bill passed.
Arrowood says it will make everyday life much simpler for non-binary and transgender Long Islanders.
"It's also affirming you know if someone gives you a hard time you can just say no the government recognizes me for who I am so that's me," says Arrowood.
The bill will allow non-binary, intersex, or undesignated gender New Yorkers to use an 'X' for their sex on their driver's license rather than identifying themselves as male or female.
As of right now, people will only be able to change their license and birth certificate. Other things such as passports are on the federal level.
Assemblywoman Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas says people now have options to ensure their gender is honored and respected.
"This is really about dignity and respect and reducing stigma and ensuring that every single person no matter their gender identity or expression has the opportunity to thrive in this state," says Gonzalez-Rojas.
Arrowood says if a non-binary or transgender person applies for a job, if their documents don't match people have to out themselves to employers. Having the correct gender identification on official documents helps protect the safety of transgender people and allows them better access to housing, employment, or other public benefits.
"Just removing that potential issue really will make a difference for folks," says Arrowood.
The bill also allows parents the choice to be designated as father, mother or parent on their child's birth certificate.
The bill now goes to the governor for final approval.
If the bill is signed, New York would join 24 other states to offer a gender-neutral marker on at least some official documents.