New Yorkers May Now Choose “X” Gender on Their Birth, Marriage & Death Certificates

New Law Makes It Easier for Non-binary People to Amend Vital Records

Additional Changes Allow Transgender Individuals to Update Their Name & Gender on Marriage Certificates

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 9, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health today announced the implementation of a non-binary option for birth, marriage, and death certificates for New Yorkers who reside outside of New York City, which maintains its own vital records.

In addition to "male" and "female" designating gender on the documents, there is now an "X" option to signify another gender or an undesignated gender for those who identify as non-binary. In addition, as part of the enacted FY 2023 State Budget, most state agencies that collect information about a person's gender are to provide an option for people to mark their gender as "X" on state forms and include that information in data collection that became effective on January 1, 2023.

"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."

"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."

How to change a birth certificate

New Yorkers aged 17 years or older can change their gender designation on their birth certificate, including requests for a "X" gender designation. 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 a "X" gender designation. The requesting parent(s)' or legal guardian(s)' name must be on the birth certificate. A parent will not be able to select "X" gender on a newborn's Certificate of Live Birth, which serves as medical documentation of a birth event. Therefore, the medically determined sex of the infant by attending clinical personnel at the time of birth must be recorded. While the medical determination of sex assigned at birth will remain on the original birth certificate, which will be sealed from release, a new birth certificate will be issued with the amended gender information located in the 'sex' field.

The Department's Bureau of Vital Records uses the same process for people to change their sex designation as it uses for other corrections to New York birth certificates. Applicants need to request a change of a birth record using the appropriate forms (DOH-5305, DOH-5303, DOH-5306 & DOH-5304 and instructions available here.

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.

One certified copy of the amended birth certificate will be provided to the applicant free of charge and additional copies are $30.00 each. Individuals should make payment to the NYS Department of Health and may pay with a personal check, postal money order, or certified check. Payment for orders from foreign countries must be made by a check drawn on a United States bank or by international money order.

How to change a marriage certificate

The amended Domestic Relations Law § 20-C now requires that a revised marriage certificate be issued to reflect a properly documented change in name or gender designation. All documentation must be submitted to the town or city clerk where the original marriage license was applied for or purchased. When completed, the town or city clerk will issue a new Certificate of Marriage Registration.

Documentation is required to revise a marriage certificate to reflect a change in name or gender designation. Documentation must consist of:

  • 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.

More information about how to change a marriage certificate is available here.

How to change a death certificate

If a loved one has already made a change to their gender designation on their NYS birth certificate prior to their death, this correction can be made with supporting documentation. However, if no formal gender designation change was made on their NYS birth certificate prior to their death, this change cannot be made after death.

Amendments to the personal information can be made by filling out the Application for Correction of Death (DOH-299) and gathering supporting documentation to bring to the local registrar.

The following individuals 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.

Corrections or amendments to medical information (place of death, cause or manner of death, etc.) can be made by filing out the Application for Correction of Certificate of Death (DOH-1999) and having the Medical Certifier sign off on the correction. When completed, the local register will issue the amended death certificate.

New York residents who already have a state-issued ID will have the option to change their gender designation from "male" or "female" to "X" at the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles. Those applying for a state-issued ID for the first time will also have the option to select "X."

For more information about birth, death and marriage certificates, please visit the State Health Department's website here.