Rule gives Oregonians non-gender option on driver's license

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OR is showing its pride this month!

On Thursday, the Oregon Transportation Commission approved a new rule, which allows individuals who are intersex or don't identify as male or female to chose "X" as the sex marker on their driver's licenses. The International Civil Aviation Organization, which develops passport standards, has recommended an "X for unspecified" option since 1996, according to NBC.

"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", Nancy Haque of Basic Rights Oregon said in a statement.

According to Amber Ferguson of the Washington Post, the Commission's decision "became inevitable" after an or judge allowed 52-year-old Jamie Shupe to legally identify as non-binary in June of last year. It did not need legislative action because state law does not specify that drivers must choose male or female.

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That decision prompted OR officials to examine how they could recognise a third gender in its computer systems and affect the state's gender laws.

"For the first time that we know, a court ordered a name change to something other than male or female, and at the time we couldn't do that, so we went to study our statutes and checked to see whether we could do it by a rule change or if it (had) to go through legislation", said David House, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). "This was always the right thing to do all along", he added.

The new rule came about after an OR resident's court order authorized a sex change from female to "non-binary".

The state Senate passed a bill which, similarly to the OR legislation, would allow people to choose a third gender on official forms. In November, the state became the first in the country to elect an openly LGBTQ governor ― Kate Brown, a bisexual woman who first began serving as governor in 2015 following Gov. John Kitzhaber's resignation. Judge Amy Holmes Hen ruled that "The sex of Jamie Shupe is hereby changed from female to non-binary". "I very much plan to head to the nearest DMV and ask for that ID to be corrected on July 3rd", Shupe told Reuters. 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".

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