Mass. Senator Pushes for Gender-Neutral Licenses

Law would let people choose, male, female, or X

Moved by a letter from a 16-year-old, a Massachusetts state senator is pushing to make the state one of the first in the nation to have gender neutral driver's licenses and ID cards.

"When you think about it, why should somebody, anybody, have to identify male or female if they don't identify specifically with one or the other," Senator Karen Spilka said Thursday.

Under Spilka's proposed law, people will choose male, female, or "X" when marking gender on a driver's license or ID card.

"In the long run, it is the person's identity, the person who has that license that should be able to say what they identify as and that is what should matter," she said.

This past summer, Washington D.C. made such a move, and Oregon soon followed.

"This is a good step in the right direction," Sylvian Bruni, with Boston Pride, said. "Being able to have a document that basically a testament to your identity, is key in a number of legal proceedings and a number of other areas of life."

But not everyone agrees.

"Driver's license is intended to be a legal document identifying people by the use of objective facts, like height, age, current address, they are not intended to fill someone's desire for sexual expression," Andrew Beckwith with the Massachusetts Family Institute said.

"We think identification documents, legal documents, should reflect reality and not someone's inner sense of self," he added.

Senator Spilka says she is also researching adding a gender neutral option to birth certificates. She hopes the bill becomes law by the end of the 2018 session.

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