The State of Oregon became the first in the U.S. to allow its residents to identify as neither male nor female on a state driver’s license on Thursday.
“I very much plan to head to the nearest DMV and ask for that ID to be corrected on July 3rd. And then I’ll no doubt stand out front of the building, or sit in the car, and cry.” – Jamie Shupe
Hailed as a victory for civil rights, the Oregon Transportation Commission unanimously adopted the policy. Residents can now choose “X” for non-binary or non-specified as an alternative to “M” for male and “F” for female on their licenses or ID cards. Oregon’s Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division plans to start offering the option this July.
“I very much plan to head to the nearest DMV and ask for that ID to be corrected on July 3rd,” Jamie Shupe, an Army veteran who petitioned for the non-binary gender option told Reuters. “And then I’ll no doubt stand out front of the building, or sit in the car, and cry.” In 2016, a Portland Circuit Judge granted Shupe’s request to change their gender marker from female to a non-binary option. The ruling prompted state officials to examine how they could allow a third gender option in the state’s computer systems and how they would work with the state’s gender laws.
DMV officials held public hearings for the new change and only a few people expressed concerns that it would complicate the police department’s ability to identify people. In reality, according to the 2015 survey conducted by the National Center For Transgender Equality, nearly one-third of transgender people who show an ID that does not match their gender identity experience discrimination, harassment, and even assault.
A spokesperson for the Oregon DMV indicated that the agency currently has no estimates regarding how many people may apply for the new ID’s.