Oregon became the first state to legally recognize non-binary, intersex, and agender people on ID cards Thursday.
The rule, passed by the state Transportation Commission, goes into effect on July 3. Oregon residents will have the option to choose male, female, or “X” for non-binary when applying for driver’s licenses or state ID cards.
“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,” Jamie Shupe, who in June 2016 became the nation’s first person to legally change his gender to non-binary, told NBC News. “This was always the right thing to do all along,” he added. Shupe plans to apply for a non-binary driver’s license on July 3, alongside his wife.
Oregon’s “X” category now allows people like Shupe to opt out of sex and gender on drivers’ licenses, meaning that in emergencies medical teams will have to decipher their birth gender rather than having the information readily available.
Non-binary people expressed during the public comment period published by the Oregon Transportation Department, that having a third gender option made them feel safer, while others opposed the third-gender option, one person calling it “political correctness gone haywire.”
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. Voter registration cards in India now also read “O” for “Other,” and Canada became the first North American country to allow “X” in the sex category on official documents.