Historic Step in Implementing the Gender Recognition Act Takes Effect in Time for Pride Month
Supports State’s Effort to Remove Barriers for Transgender and Non-Binary New Yorkers
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that New Yorkers will have the option to choose “X” as a gender marker on their driver license, learner permit, or non-driver ID card at all Department of Motor Vehicle offices statewide. This change is being implemented in accordance with the State’s Gender Recognition Act, which goes into effect on June 24. This landmark legislation provides expanded protections for transgender and non-binary New Yorkers through this change at the DMV and by making it easier for people to change their names, change their sex designation and change their birth certificates to reflect their identity.
“As we prepare to celebrate Pride Month in a few days, I am excited to announce this historic change that represents another victory in our fight to help ensure equality and respect for the LGBTQ+ community,” Governor Hochul said. “Every person, regardless of their gender identity or expression, deserves to have an identity document that reflects who they are. My administration remains committed to ensuring that New York is a place of value, love and belonging for members of the LGBTQ+ community.”
Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder said, “Perhaps more than any other state agency, New Yorkers directly engage with their government through the DMV, so offering identity documents that are representative of all New Yorkers is a significant milestone. We are thrilled to implement this new option that we know will have a positive impact on the lives of so many of our customers.”
Division of Human Rights Commissioner Maria Imperial said, “We applaud our state’s important action to ensure that these essential ID documents accurately reflect and affirm who we are. We will continue working to advance dignity and eliminate discrimination against transgender and non-binary people in New York State.”
Deputy Chief Diversity Officer Priya Nair said, “As a transgender and non-binary New Yorker, this action means that I can now get a driver license that better reflects my identity. It’s not only the correct gender marker, but it’s also an action which demonstrates that New York State affirms and sees me for who I am. Thank you to Governor Hochul, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and all of the non-binary and transgender advocates who pushed for this important and inclusive change. As other states attack and roll back protections for transgender people, I am proud to live in a state that will continue to fight for our communities.”
New Yorkers who have an existing driver license, learner permit, or non-driver ID will have the option to change the gender marker on their photo ID from “M” or “F” to “X”, and those who are applying for a NYS photo ID for the first time will have the option to choose “X”. This can be done by completing the Application for Permit, Driver License or Non-Driver ID Card (MV-44).
Customers who do not want to visit a DMV office to change their existing ID document will have the option to change their gender designation through an online transaction beginning in July 2022.
State Senator Brad Hoylman said, “Each and every New Yorker should be recognized for who they are by their government. Before the Gender Recognition Act, it was incredibly hard for many New Yorkers to get the identification documents they require for travel, to get a job, and even to go to school. But on June 24, when the GRA takes effect thanks to the efforts of TGNB activists, all gender non-conforming, transgender, non-binary, and intersex New Yorkers will be able to receive IDs that accurately reflect their identity. 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. Thank you, Governor Hochul, DMV Commissioner Schroeder, and Division of Human Rights Commissioner Imperial for overseeing the implementation of this important law.”
Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Carl Charles said, “This is a significant step forward in the fight for lived equality for transgender, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming people in New York State. Thanks to Lambda Legal’s work on behalf of Mx. Sander Saba, and the enactment of the Gender Recognition Act, the State of New York has finally turned the page on a discriminatory, outdated policy. Nonbinary, transgender, and gender non-conforming New Yorkers now have access to accurate, state-issued identity documents that are critical to day to day life in New York. While there is more work to be done, today marks a significant step forward in the right direction. We acknowledge the work of those who made this day possible including Mx. Sander Saba, nonbinary and transgender advocates here in New York, and our law firm pro bono partners O’Melveny Myers LLP. We also extend our sincere thanks to Governor Hochul, and the New York Department of Motor Vehicles for moving the needle forward for transgender and nonbinary New Yorkers.”
Plaintiff Sander Saba said, “It’s my sincere hope that, as we move ahead, other transgender and non-binary New Yorkers will be able to live their lives with the respect and dignity they deserve in every facet of their lives, aided by accurate state-issued identification. Every person should be able to access identity documents that reflect who they truly are without having to validate their personhood in court.”
This announcement comes as part of the major advancements in LGBTQ+ equity Governor Hochul fought for and secured in the Enacted Fiscal Year 2023 State Budget. The Budget includes $13.5 million for the Department of Health to support the LGBTQ+ community and more than doubles annual LGBTQ+ Health and Human Services funding. In addition, the Budget includes legislation requiring state agencies to provide an option for individuals to mark their gender or sex as a non-binary “X” on all state forms that collect gender or sex information. Agencies are also required to include that information in data collection. The Enacted Budget also enables transgender New Yorkers to change their names or gender designations on marriage certificates without leaving their dead names on them.