Oregon Is First State to Legally Recognize Non-Specified Gender

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The process of adding the X option was kicked off last summer by a court order from the Multnomah County Circuit Court after a judge ruled that Army veteran Jamie Shupe could legally change genders from female to non-binary. 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.

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — In a move hailed by LGBT rights groups, OR became the first state in the U.S. on Thursday to allow residents to mark their gender as "not specified" on applications for driver's licenses, learner's permits and identity cards.

OR is the only USA state to allow an unspecified gender, but other countries including Germany, India, Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand also allow a third gender option.

Shupe, an OR resident, is an Army veteran who was designated male at birth (DMAB) but began to transition in 2013. The measure was approved Thursday by the Oregon Transportation Commission, according to the Oregonian.

The rule, passed by the state Transportation Commission, goes into effect on July 3.

A person wrote about when going through airport security, the TSA agent didn't know whether to choose male or female on the X-ray machine and was so thankful when the person finally whispered to just pick female. "I consider myself as a third sex", Shupe added.

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Gender-nonconforming Oregonians applauded the move. "Removing barriers for people is critical to helping all of us live healthy, productive lives".

For Oregonians, being able to demonstrate a non-binary gender on their licenses can be the first step toward public visibility for the rest of us who are non-binary.

An employee of the advocacy group Basic Rights Oregon hands out stickers during an Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle department public hearing on May 10.

Australia and New Zealand already have the option to choose an "X" gender on passports, and in India the options include "male", "female" and "eunuch". California would be the first state to establish a third gender option through legislation. "Our lives are so gendered, which is why it's important that driver licenses and other forms of IDs recognize people who are non-binary".

It also looks like OR won't be the only state with this nonbinary option for much longer.