Published: Sat, June 17, 2017
National | By Miranda Cannon

Oregon Is First State To Offer Third Gender Option On Official IDs

Oregon Is First State To Offer Third Gender Option On Official IDs

OR yesterday became the first U.S. state to allow residents to identify as neither male nor female on state driver's licences, a decision that transgender advocates called a victory for civil rights. The new policy represents a unanimous move Thursday by the Oregon Transportation Commission, reports Reuters, and goes into effect July 1. The bill simplifies the process of legal gender changes and introduces the non-binary gender option "X" in identification documents.

The DMV made the change after a Multnomah County judge allowed retired Army mechanic Jamie Shupe to legally identify as non-binary. "I consider myself as a third sex", Shupe added. In a 2015 poll, 22 percent of people surveyed said they personally knew or worked with a transgender person - up 17 percent from the previous year. "Removing barriers for people is critical to helping all of us live healthy, productive lives".

The Department of Motor Vehicles said in a statement that it took roughly a year to implement the change because "time was required to study state laws, update computer systems, work with business partners such as law enforcement and courts, and change administrative rules".

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"There's a little more truth and justice in the world today", said Hayley Gorenberg, deputy legal director of Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization that advocates for the civil rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender people.

For Oregonians, being able to demonstrate a non-binary gender on their licenses can be the first step toward public visibility for the rest of us who are non-binary. Just last month, Brown signed a bill into law making it easier and cheaper for Oregonians to revise the gender marker on their birth certificate - filling out a form instead of posting a public notice and going to court. Several countries, including Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand, Nepal and Bangladesh have acknowledged the need to recognize non-binary genders for years.

Residents can now freely change their gender on their driver's licenses without a doctor's note saying they are transgender or non-binary. 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. So while Oregon's the first state to allow a third gender option, it likely won't be the last.

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