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OR just became the first state to legally recognise non-binary people

OR just became the first state to legally recognise non-binary people

As Sam Levin of the Guardian notes, instituting a third option on state IDs may prevent people from facing questioning and discrimination because their legal documents do not match their gender presentation.

The change approved by the state Transportation Commission allows Oregonians to select "X" for "not specified" as their gender, as it appears on state IDs, driver licenses and driver permits.

The change follows a ruling a year ago by an OR judge that allowed Jamie Shupe, an Army veteran, to legally identify as non-binary.

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.

The ruling, which is believed to be the first of its kind, allowed Portland resident Jamie Shupe to mark that designation in a standard petition for change of sex.

Gender binary is history-in the West Coast, at least.

Earlier this month, Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill making it easier for transgender residents to shield changes they make to their birth certificates, with the aim of mitigating potential discrimination from employers or landlords, making or the second state (after California) to pass such a law.

Transgender rights have become a flashpoint across the United States after some states, including North Carolina, have tried to restrict transgender people's use of public bathrooms. The 2015 US Transgender Survey found that many gender-nonconforming people were verbally harassed, denied services, asked to leave venues, or even assaulted after showing an ID that didn't list their preferred name or gender.

"DMV Administrator Tom McClellan choked up as he read letters of support to the commission, including from someone who encountered an embarrassing situation while going through a body scanner at an airport, and the security officer didn't know whether to push the blue button for a male passenger or a pink one for a female one", The Associated Press reports.

The state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), which held public hearings to debate the issue, said they received little opposition to the policy change, according to the Oregonian newspaper.

Australia and New Zealand have already have the option to choose "X" on their passports, and passport applicants in India can pick Male, Female or Eunuch. "The state of OR sees me for who I am".

"My gender identity has never been male, but I feel like I have to own up to my male biology", Shupe told the Oregonian at the time. "I'm a mixture of both", Shupe said.

An advocate for the "X" gender marker hands out stickers. Recently, a bill passed through the California House Senate, which would similarly allow for a third gender-neutral option.


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