Boston City Councilors Unanimously Pass Ordinance for Gender Inclusivity on City Forms
Released: December 16, 2020
The ordinance was authored by Boston City Councilors Michelle Wu and Liz Breadon in response to constituent experiences at City Hall.
Boston, MA— Today, the Boston City Council unanimously voted to pass an ordinance authored by Councilors Michelle Wu and Liz Breadon to ensure gender inclusivity on all City-issued forms, documents, and certificates. The legislation will require existing and future forms to include a non-binary gender identification option, and a report to the City Council identifying necessary language changes within 60 days.
As the LGBTQIA+ community continues to face marginalization, discrimination, and violence - especially toward trans and gender non-conforming community members - the 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 update 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 have co-sponsored 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. This is a step forward in ensuring 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."