An Act relative to gender identity on Massachusetts identification
S.2213, introduced by Senator Jo Comerford
(As a bill goes through the legislative process and gets amended, it often receives new numbers. The amended bill that passed the Senate is now S.2213.)
“People know what gender they are. This bill simply allows their official documents to match how they self-identify. It allows for the commonwealth to mandate gender identification and IDs as diverse as our people.” – Sen. Comerford
This legislation would affirm the ability of people to be identified by their preferred gender on state documents and forms.
- The bill requires the Registry of Motor Vehicles to allow someone to choose their gender, including a non-binary option, on driver’s licenses, state identification cards, and liquor purchase identification cards. As this is their current practice, the bill codifies existing procedure.
- The bill also allows parents to choose a gender option on a birth certificate for a child under 18, and allows adults to change the gender on their own birth certificate by request. This removes the medical certification requirement in current law.
- In addition, to provide more information to the legislature about other instances where this may be an issue, the bill asks the Attorney General to report back on all other state forms that request a person’s gender and indicate if this is required by a state or federal law, regulation, or just practice.
All people need to have documents that reflect their lived gender. A driver’s license that has an incorrect gender can “out” a transgender person in a situation where they need to show their license, such as traveling, applying for jobs or schools, entering a public establishment that requires ID, or obtaining benefits that require proof of identity.
Documents that do not match a transgender person’s lived gender can expose them to a variety of negative outcomes, such as unnecessary scrutiny by law enforcement, denial of housing, employment, health or public benefits, and verbal harassment or physical violence.
This bill is about advancing basic human dignity, supporting human rights, and protecting everyone’s right to their own self-identity.
On April 25, 2019, this bill passed the Senate in a vote 39-1.