New Jersey Introduces Gender Neutral Birth Certificates

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a still of a newborn and a brith certificatePixabay/Getty

New Jersey has become only the fourth state in the USA where newborns can be registered gender-neutral, under a new law which expands transgender rights in the Garden State.

Parents in New Jersey will be able to register their child as gender-neutral – in other words, neither binary male nor female – from February 1.

Parents in the Garden State now have the option to gender their child at birth or not, with three options appearing on certificates come February.

The change will also make it easier for non-binary and transgender people to change their birth certificates to affirm their gender identity, without having the burden of proof of gender reassignment surgery put upon them.

For these individuals, the difficulties of identifying in a way not recognised by the state in accordance with your birth certificate will hopefully, mercifully, be over.

Though New Jersey made laws requiring schools to refer to students by their preferred gender, and treat them accordingly, some have reported they still face discrimination, bullying and harassment.

This legislation stemming from the Babs Siperstein Bill was signed into law last July by Gov. Phil Murphy, named for the first elected transgender member of the Democratic National Committee in 2012, who resides in Edison.

Ashley Chiappano, of the group Garden State Equality, told News12 New Jersey:

Just because your sex assigned at birth is one thing, it does not necessarily mean that it is something that’s going to be consistent with your gender identity throughout your life.

Sex is more like a label. When we’re talking about sex, this is assignment by a doctor.

Gender identity goes even further to say that it’s how you feel on the inside and how you express yourself. It’s how you express yourself through your clothing, your behaviour, your personal appearance.

Jaimie Wilson, a 22-year-old DJ and musician from Ann-Arbour told UNILAD just how liberating and emotional it was for him when he was able to undergo gender reassignment and live as he had always felt himself to be.

Jaimie recounted undergoing gender reassignment surgery, saying:

Transitioning for me physically was the best feeling. I remember cutting my long hair off and how, although the world remained the same, it felt like a whole new one!

Emotionally I felt content, and noticed my social anxiety and stress level sort of just disappeared. I became a more happy and lively person. I became me.

Starting hormones was such a relief. It was like living nineteen years of your life as someone else, and then getting this magical juice that makes you look, sound, and feel like who you always have envisioned in your head.

However, for many people going through the emotional turmoil of feeling like your sex doesn’t match up to the gender you feel and who are unable to afford gender reassignment, the burden is made worse because often the authorities won’t recognise their rightful gender in official documents.

New Jersey joins Oregon, California and Washington, which have all approved similar legislation. New York City has also just changed birth certificates to be gender neutral.

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