For the first time, a state in our union is allowing citizens to choose a third gender on their driver’s license. Of course, it is in Oregon.
Beginning next month, transgender people, or “nonbinary” as they like to be called, will have a new option to choose for gender on their driver’s license.
Before, Oregon drivers had to choose between “M” or “F” as a gender. Now, a third option will be added: “X,” for nonbinary people who choose no gender. You read that right – you can now be identified as an X-Man in Oregon. Or X-Woman. Or X-Person.
Very few Oregonians opposed the proposed change, and a government official said input from nonbinary people made a difference in their decision. “They told us of their struggles so we would understand the need,” the official said.
Oregon became the first U.S. state to allow residents to identify as “nonbinary,” neither male nor female, on their driver licenses and identification cards Thursday in a decision by The Oregon Transportation Commission.
Beginning July 1, Oregonians will be able to choose “X” for sex Instead of “F” or “M” on their licenses and identification cards. Applicants will have to pay replacement or renewal fees.
Transgender and intersex Oregonians say the change validates their identities and makes them safer as they hand over their licenses at restaurants, health clinics and airports. Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles officials say they received little opposition to the change, which they first announced plans to carry out last summer. Of 83 comments, both written and oral, only 12 people opposed the change.
The testimony offered “important insight into some DMV customers that according to one of the witnesses are as common as redheads,” said Tom McClellan, the division administrator for the department. “People didn’t share their testimony. They shared their stories. They told us of their struggles so we would understand the need.”
The rule change follows a historic precedent set last year when a Multnomah County Circuit Court judge allowed Portland Army veteran Jamie Shupe to legally identify as neither male nor female. Legal experts believed the ruling was a first in the United States.
An estimated 20,000 Oregonians identify as transgender, according to The Williams Institute at the University of California-Los Angeles. A 2015 nationwide survey of 28,000 transgender people found that more than a third identified as neither male nor female.
Since Shupe’s win, judges in Polk and Benton counties have allowed transgender Oregonians to change their legal gender to neither male nor female.
Commissioner Sean O’Hollaren said he was glad the state had embraced the change.
What do you think of the state of Oregon allowing nonbinary people getting a third option for gender on driver’s licenses? Let us know in the comments, and in addition, share this on social media.