OR becomes first state to allow third gender option

Oregon DMV headquarters

Oregon DMV headquarters

Starting next month, the Oregon DMV will offer identity cards with a third gender marker.

This week, OR became the first state in the U.S.to offer a gender option other than "male" OR "female" on identity documents, now letting people choose a third option of "X" to signify a nonbinary OR unspecified gender.

Activists hope an "X" gender designation is on the way in other states, and eventually, for USA passports.

"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", said Basic Rights Oregon co-executive director Nancy Haque, whose organization campaigned for the change.

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 previous year.

The DMV made the change after a Multnomah County judge allowed retired Army mechanic Jamie Shupe to legally identify as non-binary. "It's something that we should do because it's the right thing to do".

Residents can now freely change their gender on their driver's licenses without a doctor's note saying they are transgender or non-binary.

A 2015 survey of more than 27,000 transgender people across all 50 states found that 68 percent of respondents didn't have an ID reflecting their preferred name or gender.

The policy change was cheered by supporters as a major step in expanding legal recognition and civil rights for people who do not identify as male or female.

Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles officials say they received little opposition to the change, which they first announced plans to carry out last summer.

While Oregon is the first US state to offer a third gender option, there is precedent for it around the world.

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". The state Senate is considering a bill that would allow residents to identify as non-binary on all official state issued documents, including birth certificates. But the California Family Council opposes the bill, arguing that "government documents need to reflect biological facts for identification", the AP reported. "I consider myself as a third sex".

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