New York courts to expand gender options on jury documents

New York. The new cards, which tell people when they must attend jury duty, will include the gender options female, male, transgender, nonbinary, intersex and other.

20 Nov 2019 | 12:04

(AP) New York's court system is planning to expand the gender options on jury documents to be more inclusive of people who do not identify as male or female.

State court spokesman Lucian Chalfen said the system aims to have the updated juror information card set for distribution by early January. The new cards, which tell people when they must attend jury duty, will include the gender options female, male, transgender, nonbinary, intersex and other, he said.

The cards only have male and female gender options right now, he said. The court system is also changing up its juror questionnaire, which is used during the jury selection process and features a question with a check box for female or male. The updated document will offer a question asking a person how they would like to be addressed.

"People don't easily fit into boxes that can be checked,'' said state Sen. Brad Hoylman.

The Manhattan Democrat said strict binary options may leave out New Yorkers who do not identify as male or female or do not want to identify. Hoylman, who sent a letter to the court system last month pushing for the expansion, said adding gender options can help mitigate discrimination in jury selection and lead to a more reflective jury pool. Plus, he said, being forced into an incorrect gender identity is awkward and uncomfortable.

"This is a step in recognizing the reality of nonbinary identification,'' he said.