The jury information card for New York’s court system will include “transgender,” “nonbinary,” “intersex,” and “other” as gender options along with “male” and “female” starting in January, the Associated Press reported.
The court system also is altering its questionnaire used during the jury selection process to include a question asking how prospective jurors want to be addressed and that allows them to be called jurors or other titles as opposed to just male or female options, the AP said.
‘People don’t easily fit into boxes that can be checked’
“People don’t easily fit into boxes that can be checked,” Democratic state Sen. Brad Hoylman told the outlet, adding that strict binary options may exclude those who don’t identify as male or female or do not want to identify.
Hoylman also told the AP that adding gender options can help prevent jury selection discrimination and lead to more reflective jury pools — and that being forced to check off an incorrect gender identity isn’t pleasant.
“This is a step in recognizing the reality of nonbinary identification,” he added to the outlet.
More from the AP:
New York is not the first state to shift its gender options.
In Massachusetts, a jury questionnaire leaves an open area for people to identify their own sex or gender identity, said Jury Commissioner Pamela J. Wood. People can respond however they like to the gender portion of the questionnaire, which was changed within the past two years, she said.
Whatever their answer, Wood said, it provides valuable information on whether they are appropriate jurors.