Starting on Friday, February 1, 2019, New Jersey will offer an undesignated/non-binary option on birth certificates issued in the state. New Jersey becomes the sixth state to offer this designation, after California, Maine, Washington, Oregon, and Arkansas. The change in New Jersey comes under the Babs Siperson Law, which was signed in July of 2018. The law also makes it easier for people to change the gender marker on their birth certificates without undergoing any surgical procedures. The law is named after Babs Siperson, the first openly trans member of the Democratic National Convention, and famous LGBTQ rights activist in New Jersey.
Babs Siperstein is a lifelong New Jerseyan, a veteran, a businesswoman, an activist, and the first openly transgender member of the DNC.
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) July 3, 2018
Upon signing the bill, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said in a statement, “Today is an important day for New Jersey as we continue to strive toward equality for all of our residents, regardless of sex or gender expression. Allowing vital records to match gender identity is an important step forward that will allow transgender individuals to control the disclosure of their transgender status. And by creating a Transgender Equality Task Force, New Jersey can ensure that all residents receive the protections they deserve. New Jersey will continue to stand with our LGBTQ residents in the continued pursuit of similar rights nationwide.”
LGBTQ rights groups also welcome the change in the law. Christian Fuscarino, Executive Director of Garden State Equality, said in a statement, “I am immensely proud of Governor Murphy for not only standing with our community, but also seeing that equality reaches everyone in New Jersey. Transgender people have long stood in solidarity with LGB people and here at Garden State Equality we make sure nobody is left behind.”
“I hope that people realize that being trans is OK, that being trans is normal,” a trans New Jersey teenager told TODAY. “If we could just accept each other as ourselves and let us have the papers that make us feel at ease, that’s huge for us.”