Published: Sat, June 17, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

'Not specified' gender option set for OR driver licenses

'Not specified' gender option set for OR driver licenses

OR has officially become the first state to add a gender-neutral option to driver's licenses.

The move, which is set to go into effect on July 1, is confirmation of a massive civil rights win for anyone who does not identify as simply male or female.

The change follows a ruling past year by an OR judge that allowed Jamie Shupe, an Army veteran, to legally identify as non-binary.

"It's exciting to see Oregon's Department of Motor Vehicles adopt this change", Nancy Haque, co-executive director of Basic Rights Oregon, said in a statement.

OR just became the first state in the offer a gender-neutral option on driver's licenses and IDs, a huge win for individuals in the state who do not identify as male or female. The decision marked the first legal recognition of someone being neither female nor male.

Under the new rule approved by the Oregon Transportation Commission, Oregonians who select the new option will have an X appear instead of M or F on those cards.

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While Oregon is the first USA state to offer the option, the "X" is also in use in Australia, New Zealand and the Canadian province Ontario.

The step forward was prompted after, last June, a judge decided that OR resident Jamie Shupe (in the photo above) had the legal right to identify as non-binary.

As for the licenses, the final decision was ultimately up to the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles.

Australia and New Zealand already have the option to choose an "X" gender on passports, and in India the options include "male", "female" and "eunuch". But the California Family Council opposes the bill, arguing that "government documents need to reflect biological facts for identification", the AP reported.

"My gender identity is definitely feminine".

"[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". "But in the end, the huge legal and non-binary civil rights battle that I expected to unfold going into this never came to pass; simply because this was always the right thing to do all along". "I consider myself as a third sex", Shupe added.

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