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Boston City Councilors Michelle Wu and Liz Breadon File Ordinance for Gender Inclusivity on City Forms

Released: November 16, 2020

Boston, MA— Today, Boston City Councilors Michelle Wu and Liz Breadon announced a proposed ordinance to ensure gender inclusivity on all City-issued forms, documents, and certificates. The legislation would require existing and future forms to include a non-binary gender identification option, and a report to the City Council cataloging these forms.

The LGBTQIA+ community continues to face marginalization, discrimination, and violence, especially toward trans and gender non-conforming community members. The proposed ordinance came out of a constituent experience at City Hall this year.

"My partner and I had been waiting months to get an appointment at City Hall for our marriage because COVID slowed things down,” said Boston resident and educator, Mx. Dom Wilkins. “We were ecstatic when we finally got an appointment, but when we arrived to fill out the forms, we were shocked that there wasn’t a gender X option. My stomach dropped when I not only saw the form, but also after I was met with resistance from staff. My wedding day was heartbreaking."

Years earlier, Councilor Wu had worked for an administrative change to the City’s birth certificate request forms, which previously asked for the names of each child’s “Mother” and “Father”, rather than “Parent/Guardian 1” and “Parent/Guardian 2.”

“Language is important and can promote inclusion and representation, or reveal and reinforce harmful stereotypes and exclusion,” said Councilor Wu. “As a City, we have an obligation to not only create legislative protections and programming, but ensure that each and every form and interaction with City Hall is welcoming and reflects the diversity of all our residents and families.”

“I am pleased to co-sponsor this ordinance ensuring proper gender affirmation and inclusivity for my LGBTQIA+ siblings and family,” Councilor Breadon said. “Having a gender marker on identification or public forms that does not match one’s gender identity may lead to discrimination and even violence, and may cause many individuals to avoid receiving services. We must work together to ensure that the City's public spaces and departmental resources are welcoming and affirming to people of all gender identities and members of the LGBTQIA+ community, much like the shifts taken by the Commonwealth's RMV on ID cards."

The ordinance will be up for a vote but the Boston City Council’s meeting on Wednesday, November 18th, at 12PM. Read the full ordinance here.