Male, female or X? Oregon adds third option to driver's licenses

Alejandro Massey
June 17, 2017

A survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality, in fact, found that one third of respondents who showed an ID with a name or gender that did not align with their external presentation had experienced verbal harassment, denial of services, and even physical assault.

Right in the middle of Pride month, OR just made a huge move to support non-binary people. The "X" is for not-specified.

The decision in OR comes a year after a Portland circuit court judge granted a request by Shupe to change gender from female to a third, non-gender option.

"DMV Administrator Tom McClellan choked up as he read letters of support to the commission, including from someone who encountered an embarrassing situation while going through a body scanner at an airport, and the security officer didn't know whether to push the blue button for a male passenger or a pink one for a female one", The Associated Press reports. Shupe, who according to The Oregonian prefers to be called "Jamie" rather than by a pronoun, said that being non-binary allows Shupe to acknowledge being DMAB and having a feminine gender identity.

Last year, intersex activist and Navy veteran Dana Zzyym sued the federal government for the right to choose a third gender on their passport.

The rule, passed by the state Transportation Commission, goes into effect on July 3.

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About 20,000 Oregonians identify as transgender, according to The Williams Institute at the University of California-Los Angeles. "Removing barriers for people is critical to helping all of us live healthy, productive lives". The Oregonian reports those who want the new license will have to pay a replacement or renewal fee.

As Sam Levin of the Guardian notes, instituting a third option on state IDs may prevent people from facing questioning and discrimination because their legal documents do not match their gender presentation.

Gender-nonconforming Oregonians applauded the move.

"In order to comply with the order, [the Department of Motor Vehicles] needed about a year to implement the change", the department said in a statement Thursday. Reuters points out OR is the first state to provide this option.

The group said other cultures and other countries that recognize non-binary genders include India, Bangladesh, Australia, New Zealand and Nepal. OR beat to the punch California, where a broader bill is moving through the legislature to allow a gender-neutral choice on licenses and other documents, such as birth certificates.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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