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LGBTQ+ activists have praised New York lawmakers for approving an act that expands gender options on driving licences and birth certificates.
The passing of the law allows New Yorkers to choose their own gender for driver’s licences, or opt for a gender-neutral ‘X’ designation, and describe themselves as ‘parent’ on birth certificates instead of being forced to choose between ‘father’ or ‘mother’.
The act also bans discrimination on grounds of gender identity and waives a rule that required name changes to be published in newspapers.
The introduction of the act on June 26 came exactly 10 years after the US Supreme Court struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage and legalised the practice in all 50 states. It also fell towards the end of Pride Month, which is celebrated throughout June.
Upon signing the law, Cuomo said, ‘Every New Yorker deserves to be free from discrimination and have state-issued identification and processes that respect them for who they are, recognise their gender identity and protect their safety.’
Per CBS New York, he commented: ‘The Gender Recognition Act eliminates barriers that undermine the health, safety and equality of people because of their gender. It affirms basic human dignity.’
The signing of the Gender Recognition Act has received widespread praise from members of the LGBTQ+ community and its advocates, with New York Assembly member Danny O’Donnell describing it as a ‘milestone in our fight to secure LGBTQ rights’.
In a statement shared on Twitter, he continued:
Today, we celebrate love and equality. On the 10 year anniversary of marriage equality, we can look back with pride on how that victory laid the groundwork for a decade of progress to protect and support the LGBTQ community.
I am proud of our progress on LGBTQ rights in the last 10 years and am deeply honored to continue that work with the Gender Recognition Act, which will make life safer for trans individuals, reduce stigma, and affirm trans individuals’ identities.
O’Donnell celebrated all the positive steps that have taken place with regards to LGBTQ+ rights over the last decade and admitted that while the work for equal rights is ‘far from over’, the passing of the act proves ‘that love is love, that trans lives matter, and that we are ready for the fights ahead’.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 10am–6pm Monday to Friday, or email [email protected]
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