The State of New Jersey will now offer parents a third option when it comes to choosing gender on their child’s birth certificate. In addition to the traditional male or female, there will be an option to choose gender “X” for undesignated, which according to the state will encompass all gender identities that are not exclusively male or female. The new law started on February 1st. The Garden State passed the progressive legislation to further expand transgender rights in the state.
The bill was signed into law by Democratic Governor Phil Murphy. The previous attempt at getting the law passed had been vetoed by former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. This legislation also simplifies the process to amend a birth certificate for adults who do not identify with the sex assigned to them at birth. The Babs Siperstein Law as it’s titled will not require a person to show proof of surgery documents which was previously required. The law is named after Siperstein who is a transgender activist and the first transgender member of the Democratic National Committee.
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The Garden State Equality group states this law is crucial because people in the transgender community need access to documents that accurately reflect the gender they identify with every day. These documents are crucial for tasks like enrolling a child at school, job hunting, or applying for a new apartment. According to GSE mismatches in a person’s gender identity and what their documents state can often result in discrimination or even harassment in some cases. A survey conducted in 2015 found 32 percent of transgender people who showed their ID’s that did not match their gender had negative experiences.
The next step for New Jersey is to roll out a gender “X” option on state driver licenses as well. According to the state’s website, the Motor Vehicle Commission is currently working on implementing those changes but they do not have a rollout date as of yet.
New Jersey has now become the fourth state in the nation to pass gender-neutral option birth certificate law. The state joins Oregon, Washington, and California which all same similar laws. New York City also passed a similar law a few weeks ago.