BOSTON — Massachusetts moved another step closer to adding a gender-neutral option on licenses, birth certificates and permits. The Senate on Thursday passed a bill which would require the Registry of Motor Vehicles to add a “Gender X” option alongside the male and female options. The bill would also allow people over 18 to change their gender on their birth certificate.
Town clerks and officials would not be allowed to require medical or health care documents or a court order to make the change, the bill states.
Senate President Karen Spilka said she prioritized the bill after meeting a constituent named El from Natick, who told her about the stress the person felt having to check a gender box for a learner’s permit.
“This bill allows people to be who they are, and recognizes the rights and dignity of all residents,” Spilka wrote in a statement.
A similar bill made its way through the Senate last year but never made it to the House for a vote.
Barry Richard, a WBSM radio host in New Bedford, is opposed to the plan.
“The Gender X bill is pandering at its best,” Richard wrote. “It’s being called a civil rights issue. Wow! That’s insulting to anyone who ever actually put it on the line in the name of civil rights.”
Richard continued, “There are but two genders. Period. Males who wish to be or think they are female and vice versa are welcome to do that all day long. It’s their right. But Massachusetts IDs and birth certificates should be required to contain accurate information; otherwise, they are worthless.”
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If the bill is approved, Massachusetts would join eight other states in offering gender neutral license options. Those states are California, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon, Colorado, Maine, Indiana and Arkansas ― along with the District of Columbia. The Massachusetts bill goes a bit further by adding the birth certificate change option.
State lawmakers earlier this month made another gender-related ruling when they banned LGBTQ conversion therapy.