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Natick Teen Inspires Gender Identity Bill In Massachusetts

BOSTON (CBS) - The Gender Identity Bill passed the Senate this spring and is now waiting for consideration in the House.

If passed it would allow someone to check "X" instead of "Male" or "Female" for a license, ID or birth certificate. It would also require the Office of the Attorney General to create a report detailing all state documents where someone is required to indicate their gender.

"This is something we should do. It's reaffirming. It's recognizing that we as a state should let people be who they are it's as simple as that," said Senate President Karen Spilka.

The Senate President was inspired by teenage constituent El Martinez to support the issue.

El Martinez
El Martinez (WBZ-TV)

"The terminology doesn't really matter to me as much as the neutrality does," said El Martinez.

Martinez is non binary, which means the 17-year-old doesn't identify as male or female. The Natick teen prefers to go by the pronouns: they, them, their.

"I am who I want to be and I will dress however I want to you know. I can still wear nail polish or earrings or what not and I can also wear suits and ties," said Martinez.

Two years ago Martinez was applying for a driver's license and wanted to check an option other than male or female, but couldn't. So Martinez wrote to Senator Spilka.

"They said in the letter 'this is really important to me. I need you as my legislator as my senator to step up and help' and I thought they're right," said Senate President Spilka.

Karen Spilka
Senate President Karen Spilka and El Martinez (WBZ-TV)

The Massachusetts Republican Party is against the bill.

"Implementing this added regulation will just be another unnecessary cost to the hardworking taxpayers of Massachusetts. The added bureaucracy will also make the tough job of law enforcement even tougher," said Massachusetts Republican Party Chairman Jim Lyons.

The Massachusetts Family Institute is also opposed.

"If you're male or female that's a biological fact that your identification should reflect," said Massachusetts Family Institute President Andrew Beckwith.

The House version of the bill is still being considered in the Ways and Means Committee. It needs to make it out of committee before being debated on the House floor.

Governor Baker's office wouldn't say whether or not he would sign the bill if it makes it to his desk. The administration did say the RMV is in the process of testing software technology needed to offer the "non-binary" designation to customers.

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