Friedman, Senate Pass Bill Allowing Nonbinary Gender Option on Birth Certificates, Drivers’ Licenses

“Gender X” legislation also eliminates unnecessary roadblocks to changing gender identification on state documents

(BOSTON—7/27/23) Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) voted alongside her colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate on Thursday to unanimously pass An Act relative to gender identity on Massachusetts identification.,  The bill would allow, for the first time in Massachusetts history, an individual to be identified with a non-binary “X” sex designation on their birth certificate, and enshrine into law the current practice of allowing an individual to select a non-binary “X” gender designation on their driver’s license. This is the fourth consecutive session during which the Senate has adopted similar legislation.

“In Massachusetts, we pride ourselves on inclusivity and ensuring basic human rights,” said Senator Friedman, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. “Should this legislation become law, we will remove facets of our state government that prevent our residents from living with their true gender identity . In the face of nationwide attacks on our LGBTQIA+ friends, we continue to be a beacon of progress and ensure that Massachusetts is a place that is safe, welcoming, and open to all.”

Under current law, it is impossible to have a sex designation of “X” listed on a birth certificate in Massachusetts, and in order to change one’s sex designation, an applicant must provide a notarized statement from a physician stating that the individual has completed medical intervention.

The legislation passed today would allow an individual to be identified with an “X” sex designation on their birth certificate. In addition, the legislation allows any person over the age of 18, an emancipated minor, or a parent of a minor, to request a change in the sex designation on a birth certificate without being required to present any medical documentation, court order, or proof of name change. Individuals would only need to present a signed affidavit “attesting that the request is to conform to the person’s gender identity and is not made for any fraudulent purpose.” The legislation also makes it easier for individuals who change the sex designation on their birth certificate to also change the name on their birth certificate.

The legislation would put Massachusetts alongside 26 states around the country which currently allow residents to change the sex designation on their birth certificate without the need for a court order or medical documentation. Currently, 16 states allow residents to have a sex designation of “X” on their birth certificate.

On drivers’ licenses, individuals are currently allowed to select “X” as their gender designation; however, the practice is not codified into law. This bill would enshrine this option into state law, to ensure residents will always have this option. Massachusetts is currently one of 22 states that allow residents to have a gender designation of “X” on state drivers’ licenses.

The legislation also directs the administration to develop a plan to add a non-binary option on all forms or documents issued by state agencies that require a gender to be listed.

While considering the bill, the Senate unanimously adopted an amendment from Senator Barry Finegold (D-Andover). that empowers individuals to amend the gender designation on their marriage certificate to conform with their gender identity.

The bill now heads to the Massachusetts House of Representatives for consideration.