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Oregon First State to Offer Non-Gender Driver's Licenses


In a statement issued Thursday after OR made its decision, Lambda Legal explained why giving non-binary people the legal means to identify themselves as such on state ID is so much more than ink on paper. The move will make the state the first in the U.S.to legally recognize the identifier, and will be a triumphant step forward for the non-binary and trans community.

The ruling, which didn't come in the form of a senate bill or a legislation passing, came from a simple need at the state level: from the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles. The measure was approved Thursday by the Oregon Transportation Commission, according to the Oregonian.

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. But come July 3, people may be queuing up in OR to get a new driver's license that more accurately reflects their gender identity.

Supportive comments included that the DMV was "being careful and considerate", McClellan said, adding that one letter of support read, "Thank you for making it easy for me".

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According to The Guardian, "The IDs can also help people avoid discrimination and mistreatment given that when people have IDs that don't match their gender presentation, they can be questioned and denied services". Hopefully, while OR is the first state, it won't be the last - there is some talk that California is also hoping to add another gender.

Previously, non-binary residents were forced to check "M" for male or "F" for female.

As OPB's Kristian Foden-Vencil reported past year, several other countries recognize a third gender, including India, Pakistan, Australia and Germany. The third option - a non-binary gender - will be reflected with an X starting July 3, 2017. 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. It's awaiting a vote in the House.

Gender binary is history-in the West Coast, at least. Things like following gendered dress codes for work, choosing whether or not to wear a shirt in public settings, and of course, issues involving using the bathroom, can be avoided if individuals are allowed to show their third-gender ID option. That was considered a first in US history. While Shupe is excited to finally get an ID card that reflects their gender change, Shupe isn't so sure the federal government will be as progressive as the Western states.

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