Massachusetts Becomes 16th State to Roll Out Nonbinary IDs

“Seeing the X gender marker for IDs [gives] me hope that I will be able to update my birth certificate soon."

Massachusetts has joined a growing list of states offering trans, nonbinary, and intersex residents a third gender option on driver’s licenses and ID cards.

On Tuesday, the state's Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) began rolling out gender-neutral IDs as part of a system upgrade, Terry MacCormack, a spokesperson for the agency, tells NewNowNext.

“The RMV will now recognize three gender designation options: 'male,' 'female,' and 'nonbinary.' These options are available for new credential issuance, renewals, and amendments of licenses and IDs,” MacCormack says.

The update has been in the works since last year, while the legislature has also been weighing a bill that would require the state to offer gender-neutral options on state documents.

Ryley Sage Copans, a nonbinary Boston resident, is ecstatic they can finally get an ID that aligns with their gender, especially as they plan for a wedding next year.

“Seeing the X gender marker for IDs [gives] me hope that I will be able to update my birth certificate soon, too, and fill out our marriage license with an accurate representation of my gender identity and who I am,” Copans tells NewNowNext.

Research shows that transgender people face intense discrimination when their identification doesn’t align with who their lived identities, and that updating IDs can be costly and burdensome. The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey found that only 11% of trans people had their preferred name and gender on all of their documentation.

Lack of accurate IDs can have serious consequences for transgender people. Last year, the Williams Institute at UCLA estimated that voter ID laws would prevent 78,000 transgender people from voting in the 2018 midterm elections.

Massachusetts joins 15 states and Washington D.C. in offering gender-neutral IDs. Maryland, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Nevada, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon, Utah, and Vermont all offer the IDs or will next year.

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