Oregon Adds A New Gender Option To Its Driver's Licenses: X

Oregon just became first state to allow residents to identify their gender as non-binary on state ID

Oregon just became first state to allow residents to identify their gender as non-binary on state ID

In 2016, non-binary people won a victory in OR when Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Amy Holmes Hehn legally changed Jamie Shupe's gender. Non-binary identities are as varied as an individual's gender expression, meaning that two non-binary people may identify in totally different ways, just as two women or two men might. But Diane Goodwin with Basic Rights Oregon said the change is necessary to move the issue forward.

Earlier this year, the Canadian province of Ontario implemented the option of an X gender on licenses.

Shupe, an OR resident, is an Army veteran who was designated male at birth (DMAB) but began to transition in 2013.

The change will take into effect July 1.

The policy change was cheered by supporters as a major step in expanding legal recognition and civil rights for people who do not identify as male or female. "I consider myself as a third sex", Shupe added.

"[This] can create a lot of barriers going through everyday life", Arli Christian, state policy counsel for the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a phone call, "We found that almost one-third of transgender people who showed an ID that did not match their gender presentation were verbally harassed, denied benefits or services, asked to leave an establishment or even assaulted".

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Oregon's "X" category now allows people like Shupe to opt out of sex and gender on drivers' licenses, meaning that in emergencies medical teams will have to decipher their birth gender rather than having the information readily available.

A 2015 survey of more than 27,000 transgender people across all 50 states found that 68 percent of respondents didn't have an ID reflecting their preferred name or gender.

If you wish to make a change on your card more than a year before your renewal date, you must pay a replacement fee.

As part of the rule-making process, the department's Driver and Motor Vehicles division held public hearings, and comments were "overwhelmingly positive", said Tom McClellan, the division's administrator.

The group said other cultures and other countries that recognize non-binary genders include India, Bangladesh, Australia, New Zealand and Nepal.

Ultimately, the goal of gender activists is to add a third non-binary option on birth certificates, an idea now being debated in Canada and California. So while Oregon's the first state to allow a third gender option, it likely won't be the last.

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