A recently updated New York code requires all new or renovated buildings to include baby changing tables in public restrooms for men and women. The rule passed in April 2018 but didn’t go into effect until the new year. Advocates argue it is only fair: Dads, as well as moms, should be equipped to handle dirty diapers. —K.C.
As of Jan. 1, adult residents of New York City may change their gender to “X” on their birth certificates and parents may choose “X” for the gender of newborn babies. The City Council passed the measure in a 41-6 vote in September, and Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the bill in October, saying, “You be you. Live your truth. Know that New York City will have your back.”
Before the bill went into effect, New Yorkers needed to have sex change surgery and present a letter from a physician, or some other medical affidavit, prior to changing the gender designation on their birth certificates. “Today is a historic day for New York in its role as a worldwide champion for inclusivity and equality,” council spokesman Corey Johnson said.
New York City is not the first jurisdiction to make such a change. California, New Jersey, Oregon, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., already offer the option.
The trend is growing in Canada, as well. In 2017, officials in British Columbia agreed to issue a baby a national health card marked “U” for unidentified. The baby’s mother, Kori Doty, who identifies as transgender and is a member of the Gender-Free I.D. Coalition, refused to designate the baby as either male or female.
Many healthcare facilities in the United States are moving in the same direction with their patient information documents. Forms that once had only two boxes for male and female are sometimes now adding a third option. —Carol Blair