Oregon has enacted a controversial measure allowing its residents to identify themselves as male, female, or neither on driver's licenses and ID cards. The new measure, passed by Oregon's Transportation Commission and which goes into effect on July 3, will give Oregonians the option to choose among three gender categories when applying for driver's licenses or state identification cards: male, female, or “X” — for a “non-binary” or unspecified sex.
Oregon resident Jamie Shupe, who became the nation's first person to legally change his gender to “non-binary” or unspecified, plans to be among the state's first to make use of the new identification on his driver's license. “I've trembled with the fear of failure and cried tears until I had no more tears to cry, because of the magnitude of what's been at stake — and now won,” Shupe told NBC News. “But in the end, the huge legal and non-binary civil rights battle that I expected to unfold going into this never came to pass; simply because this was always the right thing to do all along.” NBC News reported that “Shupe plans to apply for a non-binary driver's license on July 3, alongside their [sic] wife, Sandy.”
Oregon Governor Kate Brown was among those applauding the move, declaring that “we must proactively break down the barriers of institutional bias” and work to become “a society that upholds the rights, liberties, and dignity of each of its people.”
Homosexual activists also celebrated the measure, with Hayley Gorenberg of Lambda Legal declaring that “there’s a little more truth and justice in the world today” because Oregon residents can choose to be neither male nor female. Attempting to explain the justification for an extra gender option, Gorenberg said that when a person's appearance does not match his or her biological gender designation, such people “endure insults and psychological trauma that could largely be averted if they had an option to use a gender marker that does not contradict who they are.”
Oregon is not the first to add the confusing designation to official documents. “Citizens of Australia and New Zealand already have the option to choose 'X' on their passports,” reported NBC News, “and in India passport applicants can pick Male, Female or Eunuch. It's not limited to passports: Also in India, voter registration cards can now read 'O' for 'Other,' and in Canada, Ontario's government became the first in North America to allow 'X' in the sex field.”
Predictably, California is not far behind its neighboring state in implementing a sexless option for its driver's licenses and identification cards. On May 31 the state senate passed a bill to add the third gender option. If the state house of representatives follows suit, California will be the first state to enact a three-gender option through legislation.
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