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

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.

Having the third option on legal documentation can help reduce discrimination and raise awareness of "the spectrum of gender identity", said Diane Goodwin, spokeswoman for Basic Rights Oregon, an advocacy group that campaigned for the "X" option.

OR is the only USA state to allow an unspecified gender, but other countries including Germany, India, Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand also allow a third gender option.

Previously, non-binary residents were forced to check "M" for male or "F" for 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. The rule, which takes effect on July 3, is a first for the U.S., David House, spokesman for Oregon's Driver and Motor Vehicles Division, or DMV, told The Associated Press.

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. Reporting for the Oregonian at the time of the ruling, Parks wrote that the national Transgender Law Center was not aware of any similar victories in the United States.

While Oregon is the first US state to offer the option, the "X" is also in use in Australia, New Zealand and the Canadian province Ontario. "Removing barriers for people is critical to helping all of us live healthy, productive lives". Just last month, Brown signed a bill into law making it easier and cheaper for Oregonians to revise the gender marker on their birth certificate - filling out a form instead of posting a public notice and going to court. The Oregonian reports those who want the new license will have to pay a replacement or renewal fee.

Australia and New Zealand have already have the option to choose "X" on their passports, and passport applicants in India can pick Male, Female or Eunuch.

California's state Senate passed a bill on May 31 to allow a third gender option on all state issued documents. "Ideally, my child will grow up in a world and an OR that recognizes and sees them for who they are, no matter how they identity".

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