He said, she said, they said: What Valley residents think of proposed driver’s license legislation

  • Rebecca Rosenthal, 19, a student at Hampshire College, at Pulaski Park in Northampton. Rosenthal, who identifies as she/they, says that the option to choose designation “X” “makes people feel comfortable and at ease and true to themselves.” STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Rebecca Rosenthal, 19, a student at Hampshire College, at Pulaski Park in Northampton. Rosenthal, who identifies as she/they, says that the option to choose designation “X” “makes people feel comfortable and at ease and true to themselves.” STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Adam Howard, 38, of Easthampton, at Pulaski Park in Northampton. Howard says that with designation “X” as an option on driver’s licenses, “You can associate any way you want. If people want to choose X, Y, Z, God bless them. It might not be perfect, but it’s better than complete exclusion.” STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Brenda Peavy, 68, of Hadley, at Pulaski Park in Northampton. Peavy says of the option to choose designation “X” on driver’s licenses: “I’m for people being happy and living their lives. I’m all for it.” STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Becky Brown, 35, of Northampton, at Pulaski Park. Brown says of designation “X” on driver’s licenses: “You should definitely do that. The answer is so simple for me. Not everyone falls into one [catergory] or the other. To force someone to choose forces them to go against their identity.” STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Kevin Allard, 27, of Northampton, in Pulaski Park. Allard says of the option to choose designation “X” on driver’s licenses: “I think it’s not natural. But if that’s how people naturally feel, I have no problem with it.”  STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Becky Brown, 35, of Northampton, at Pulaski Park. Brown says of designation “X” on driver’s licenses: “You should definitely do that. The answer is so simple for me. Not everyone falls into one [catergory] or the other. To force someone to choose forces them to go against their identity.” STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Brenda Peavy, 68, of Hadley, at Pulaski Park in Northampton. Peavy says of the option to choose designation “X” on driver’s licenses: “I’m for people being happy and living their lives. I’m all for it.” STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Adam Howard, 38, of Easthampton, at Pulaski Park in Northampton. Howard says that, with designation “X” as an option on driver’s licenses, “You can associate any way you want. If people want to choose X, Y, Z, God bless them. It might not be perfect, but it’s better than complete exclusion.” STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Kevin Allard, 27, of Northampton, in Pulaski Park. Allard says of the option to choose designation “X” on driver’s licenses: “I think it’s not natural. But if that’s how people naturally feel, I have no problem with it.” STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 4/30/2019 3:42:54 PM

Massachusetts is closer to having a nonbinary gender designation on driver’s licenses and birth certificates after a bill passed the state Senate last week allowing residents to choose the option “X” when asked for their gender.

State Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, filed the bill, which now heads to the House for consideration. Advocates say that the measure is a significant win for residents who are transgender, intersex or nonbinary, meaning they do not identify as either male or female. 

“People know what gender they are,” Comerford said in a press conference following the bill’s passage in the Senate. “This bill allows us to have their state documents match how they self-identify.” 

Currently, 11 states, including Maine and New York, offer some type of undesignated or nonbinary option on state documents. The state Senate passed a version of the bill last term, but it never came up for a vote in the House.

This year, the bill passed in the Senate 39-1, with Sen. Donald Humason, R-Westfield, casting the lone vote against the measure. 

So, how do Valley residents feel about the legislation? We asked some people hanging out in Northampton’s Pulaski Park.

 

Dusty Christensen can be reached at dchristensen@gazettenet.com.


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