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

Starting next month, the Oregon DMV will offer identity cards with a third gender marker.

OR became the first state in the union to allow a third gender option for non-binary people who don't identify as a man or woman. The International Civil Aviation Organization, which develops passport standards, has recommended an "X for unspecified" option since 1996, according to NBC.

While Oregon is the first state in the recognize non-binary residents on IDs, this idea isn't new, according to Julie Rodriquez, communications manager of Basic Rights Oregon. Transgender-rights advocates have pushed for such a "nonbinary" choice for legal documents because it fits their identities and helps protect them from discrimination and harassment when their identity does not appear to match a gender required on ID documents.

In addition to "F" and "M", people will be able to choose "X".

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David House, a spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles, told the Guardian the DMV made its decision after Jamie Shupe, a non-binary Oregon resident, became the first person in the have their gender legally recognized as non-binary.

This includes individuals with both male and female anatomies, people without a gender identity and those who identify as a different gender than listed on their birth certificate. 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.

The ruling, which didn't come in the form of a senate bill or a legislation passing, came from a simple need at the state level: from the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles.

Meanwhile, India, Bangladesh, Australia, New Zealand and Nepal already recognize non-binary genders.

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In late May, California senators passed a bill to add a third gender option on state IDs-suggesting that more change may be forthcoming.

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

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".

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  • Ryan Wade