OR first U.S. state to add third gender option on driver ID

OR first U.S. state to add third gender option on driver ID

The license decision comes a year after a judge in OR ruled, in what legal experts believe is the first such decision in the USA, that a transgender person can legally change their sex to nonbinary, allowing a change from female to nonbinary by 52-year-old Jamie Shupe. Last June, an OR judge granted Jamie Shupe, a retired Army tank mechanic, the right to legally identify as non-binary.

The new Department of Motor Vehicles policy, enacted Thursday, allows individuals to identify as "X" rather than "M" or "F" - a move that LGBTQ advocates say will serve to validate the identities of transgender, genderqueer, and intersex Oregonians.

The DMV said the new rule, which the commission passed unanimously, came about after a Multnomah County judge in June 2016 allowed Jamie Shupe, a Portland resident, to legally change to "non-binary" gender.

The policy comes at a time when the becoming somewhat more receptive to the idea that gender identity - whether you feel yourself to be male, female, or other - is about self-perception, and distinct from the sex you're assigned at birth. A survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality, in fact, found that one third of respondents who showed an ID with a name or gender that did not align with their external presentation had experienced verbal harassment, denial of services, and even physical assault.

Jamie Shupe expects to stand out front of an Oregon DMV early next month and cry.

As for the licenses, the final decision was ultimately up to the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles. It's for people who don't want to choose male or female.

Almost one-third of transgender people who showed an ID with a name or gender that did not match their perceived gender reported harassment, discrimination or assault, according to a 2015 survey of more than 20,000 people in all states. Australia and New Zealand offer the option on passports, and India on passports and voter registration cards.

Basic Rights Oregon is the state's largest nonprofit lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer advocacy group. "I'm a mixture of both", Shupe said. The third marker will be X for not specified. "I consider myself as a third sex".

Ultimately, the goal of gender activists is to add a third non-binary option on birth certificates, an idea now being debated in Canada and California.