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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs Gender Recognition Act into law

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs Gender Recognition Act into law
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs the Gender Recognition Act into law on Thursday. Photo courtesy of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo/Flickr

June 25 (UPI) -- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a bill that will allow New Yorkers to designate their gender on state-issued identification with an "X."

The Gender Recognition Act, which was passed by state lawmakers early this month, allows non-binary New Yorkers a third choice along with male and female to indicate their gender on their driver's licenses and birth certificates.

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The bill will also remove the requirement for those who wish to change their name to publish it along with their previous name, place of birth, birthday and address in a newspaper.

"Every New Yorker deserves to be free from discrimination and have state-issued identification and processes that respect them for who they are, recognize their gender identity and protect their safety," Cuomo said Thursday in a press release. "This bill is another landmark that ensures New Yorkers can express ourselves for who we are."

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LGBTQ advocacy groups supported the bill as being more than about respecting one's identity, and about protecting the rights and safety of these marginalized groups.

Assemblywoman Jessica Gonzalez Rojas said before the bill passed the assembly earlier this month that it will lift healthcare and financial barriers for transgender and non-binary people.

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"It will help trans and non-gender-conforming and non-binary people [have] better access to employment, rent an apartment and even access to healthcare," she said. "This is also important for trans youth who will be able to with parental permission to change the gender marker of their state IDs as well."

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State Democratic Sen. Brad Hoylman said signing the bill into law during June "is a wonderful way to celebrate pride month."

"I am proud to live in and represent a state that respects and values the needs of these communities -- particularly as queer, and especially as transgender people, have come under attack in recent months across our country," he said.

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