Oregon First State to Offer Non-Gender Driver's Licenses

Posted June 17, 2017

OR is showing its pride this month!

When the history-making rule - which the state Transportation Commission passed late Thursday afternoon - goes into effect on July 3, OR residents will have the option to choose among three gender categories when applying for driver's licenses OR state ID cards: male, female and "X" for non-binary OR unspecified.

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

Basic Rights Oregon is the state's largest nonprofit lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer advocacy group.

The rule was inspired by Portland resident Jamie Shupe, an army veteran who became the first American to legally change their gender to non-binary, thanks to a ruling by an OR circuit court a year ago.

And then it got personal: At public hearings in Eugene and Portland in early May, 71 people spoke in favor of adding the "X".

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This includes individuals with both male and female anatomies, people without a gender identity and those who identify as a different gender than listed on their birth certificate.

As for the licenses, the final decision was ultimately up to the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles.

"I'm incredibly thrilled to be an Oregonian right now", said Gibbons, who identifies as non-binary. "It's something we should do because it's the right thing to do".

The license decision comes a year after a judge in OR ruled, in what legal experts believe is the first such decision in the US, that a transgender person can legally change their sex to nonbinary, allowing a change from female to nonbinary by 52-year-old Jamie Shupe. But the California Family Council opposes the bill, arguing that "government documents need to reflect biological facts for identification", the AP reported. Judge Amy Holmes Hen ruled that "The sex of Jamie Shupe is hereby changed from female to non-binary".

The DMV said it studied state laws, updated computer systems, worked with law enforcement and courts and changed administrative rules to implement the change and comply with the Multnomah Court's order. "I consider myself as a third sex", Shupe added. The American Medical Association's House of Delegates passed a resolution just this week calling for improved public education about the "medical spectrum of gender identity", necessary because gender is "incompletely understood as a binary selection".