Male, female or X? Oregon adds third option to driver's licenses

People gather at the Equality March for Unity and Pride in Washington D.C

OR is showing its pride this month!

Oregon became the first US state to allow residents to identify as "nonbinary", neither male nor female, on their driver licenses and identification cards Thursday in a decision by The Oregon Transportation Commission.

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.

Abbot Flatt of Portland claps during an Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle department public hearing on the rights of transgender people as the state considers adding a third gender choice to driver's licenses and identification cards, in Portland, Oregon, on May 10.

Among them is US Army veteran Jamie Shupe who a year ago became the first person in the US to legally change their gender to non-binary. And while there aren't statistics to show just how many Oregonians identify as nonbinary, on a national level, more than a third of transgender people say they're nonbinary.

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". "It's something that we should do because it's the right thing to do".

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OR will be the first state in the nation to offer a third gender option on its state IDs - an acknowledgment that validates transgender identities.

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 state Senate passed a bill which, similarly to the OR legislation, would allow people to choose a third gender on official forms. But the California Family Council opposes the bill, arguing that "government documents need to reflect biological facts for identification", the AP reported.

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. "They found they could do that through the rule change".

Supportive comments included that the DMV was "being careful and considerate", McClellan said, adding that one letter of support read, "Thank you for making it easy for me".

Gender identity has become a major flashpoint across the U.S. in places like North Carolina, which passed a bill forcing students to use toilets according to the sex listed on their birth certificates.

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