Rule gives Oregonians non-gender option on driver's license

Posted June 17, 2017

Last year, a federal judge in OR in a landmark decision ruled that Jamie Shupe, a Portland Army veteran, could legally identify as neither male nor female.

Lambda Legal said that nationally, people have been harassed and even assaulted after presenting IDs to police, hospital workers, employers, airport staff, bank tellers and others that don't match their gender identity or expression.

Having the third option on legal documentation can help reduce discrimination and raise awareness of "the spectrum of gender identity", said Diane Goodwin, spokeswoman for Basic Rights Oregon, an advocacy group that campaigned for the "X" option.

Activists hope an "X" gender designation is on the way in other states, and eventually, for US passports.

The ruling, which is believed to be the first of its kind, allowed Portland resident Jamie Shupe to mark that designation in a standard petition for change of sex. "Most of the 12 opposing comments were things like, 'This is ridiculous, ' 'insanity, ' and 'political correctness gone haywire, '" McClellan said at a hearing Thursday before the Oregon Transportation Commission.

OR is officially the 1st state to recognize non-binary residents on their driver's licenses and IDs.

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The Oregon Transportation Commission approved the rule change unanimously, and it will go into effect on July 3.

Since Shupe's petition was granted, judges in two OR counties have granted similar petitions to transgender people. "I consider myself as a third sex".

"[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".

OR didn't need legislative approval for its measure, the Oregonian reports, because it doesn't have a law requiring people to identify as male or female on their licenses.

Gender-nonconforming Oregonians applauded the move.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown says of the change: 'We must proactively break down the barriers of institutional bias. "The state of OR sees me for who I am". Australia and New Zealand offer the option on passports, and India on passports and voter registration cards. California would be the first state to establish a third gender option through legislation.