Oregon Driver's Licenses to Undergo a Novel Change

The change became inevitable after an OR judge's decision last June to allow then 52-year-old Jamie Shupe the right to legally identify as non-binary, which was thought to be a first in the United States, according to NPR.

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — In a move hailed by LGBT rights groups, OR became the first state in the USA 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 "X" is for not-specified.

The Oregon DMV made a decision to change their rules after Jamie Shupe, a non-binary Oregonian, successfully petitioned a judge to recognize them as neither male nor female. "Most of the 12 opposing comments were things like, 'This is ridiculous, ' 'insanity, ' and 'political correctness gone haywire, '" McClellan said at a hearing Thursday before the Oregon Transportation Commission. We know gender is a spectrum and some people don't identify as male or female.

Last year, intersex activist and Navy veteran Dana Zzyym sued the federal government for the right to choose a third gender on their passport.

The change will take into effect July 1.

"There's a little more truth and justice in the world today", said Hayley Gorenberg, deputy legal director of Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization that advocates for the civil rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender people. "Removing barriers for people is critical to helping all of us live healthy, productive lives".

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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. Applicants will have to pay replacement or renewal fees.

Gender-nonconforming Oregonians applauded the move.

OR is among the handful of states in the vanguard of transgender and LGBTQ rights.

While new to the United States, non-binary gender markers are not new-other cultures and other countries have recognized non-binary genders for many years, including Canada, India, Bangladesh, Australia, New Zealand and Nepal.

Meanwhile, California lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow residents to identify as nonbinary on driver's licenses-as well as birth certificates and other state documents.

  • Sidney Guerrero