Assembly Passes the Gender Recognition Act

Speaker Carl Heastie and Assemblymember Daniel J. O’Donnell today announced that the Assembly has passed the Gender Recognition Act. This bill would ensure that government documents reflect transgender, nonbinary and intersex individuals’ identities. The provisions of this bill will make it easier and safer for individuals to petition for a change in name or sex designation (A.5465, O’Donnell).

“The Assembly Majority is committed to ensuring that our state is a safe and accepting place for all New Yorkers – this includes ensuring that their government recognizes them, and that recognition is reflected on their government IDs and documents,” Speaker Heastie said. “The Gender Recognition Act will make it easier and safer for transgender, nonbinary and intersex New Yorkers to live and thrive as their authentic selves.”

“The Gender Recognition Act is critical for transgender, nonbinary and intersex New Yorkers,” Assemblymember O’Donnell said. “The provisions in this bill will make life safer, reduce the stigma and affirm the identities for so many of our friends and neighbors. We will continue fighting for the recognition, acceptance and safety of the LGBTQ+ community here in New York.”

The Gender Recognition Act would allow applicants for a driver’s license to designate their sex as female, male or x, which can indicate nonbinary, intersex, undesignated or other. This will ensure that New Yorkers' identities are accurately and truly reflected on government documents.

Additionally, the legislation would remove barriers to individuals petitioning to change their names by removing the requirement of consent for the name change from any party except the petitioner, unless the petitioner does not have the capacity to consent, as well as updating the publication requirement following a name change on a petition. Under current law, applicants for a name change must publish their present name and address in addition to their previous name, place of birth and birthdate in a newspaper. This puts members of the LGBTQ+ community who wish to change their name at risk of hate crimes, public ridicule and discrimination.

The bill would also expand the “totality of circumstances” a judge can consider when making the determination of whether name change papers should be sealed. These considerations have been expanded to include the risk of violence or discrimination against the individual for being transgender or as the subject of domestic violence. The bil