New York Permits ‘X’ Gender For Social Services Forms

After a lawsuit was filed against multiple government organizations in New York, applicants for social services will be able to indicate their gender preference as “X.”

A discrimination claim filed in 2021 for those who identify as nonbinary due to their inability to choose gender X has been settled. In this lawsuit, the plaintiffs claimed that the state’s antiquated system required them to make false declarations about their gender identification under oath.

Plaintiff Jules Donahue told the Associated Press that the event was highly upsetting because of the plaintiff’s precarious state of mind. Donahue claimed to be forced to choose between the gender markers M and F, yet neither accurately captures how they felt about themselves.

Donahue said that while he could identify as male on the form, he felt more comfortable identifying as X.

According to the settlement terms, the X must be available to applicants for state public assistance and health programs by January 1, 2024. Although the gender indicator on the forms is not utilized in official documents, it is being updated.

WCAX 3, a local news station, was advised by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance that a multimillion-dollar software overhaul will allow government databases to accommodate a third gender.

Gabriella Larios, an attorney with the New York Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement that this is a victory for nonbinary people of New York who will no longer have to lie about their identity or risk being misgendered to apply for public benefits.

In 2021, New York included the gender “X” option on official identification documents like birth certificates and driver’s licenses. Former Governor Andrew Cuomo formally enacted the bill into law.

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) has stated that this change will free New Yorkers from the government-sanctioned stigma, red tape, and prejudice they suffer while trying to get identity documents that accurately represent their identities.