Instead of choosing “M” or “F” to identify gender on their driver’s license, people in Oregon will now have a third option available: “X” for “not specified.” According to BuzzFeed News, the state’s transportation commission approved a rule change that will add the third option beginning in July, making Oregon the first state in the country to give genderqueer, transgender, and nonbinary residents a choice outside the male-female binary.
The rule change comes after a judge in Oregon granted a petition allowing Jamie Shupe of Portland – who uses the pronouns “they” and “them” — to classify themselves as nonbinary. It was that decision, said DMV administrator Tom McClellan, that inspired the Oregon DMV to explore adding a third option to licenses. Officials then sought public comment and found that the majority of residents — 71 of the 83 — supported the change, and no other state agency that uses driver’s licenses as official identification (the election division and police department, for example) objected.
Those agencies, along with the DMV, will update their computer systems to add the “X” option. On Twitter, Oregon governor Kate Brown praised the move as “one more step to dismantling institutional bias and creating a more inclusive Oregon.”
“While to some, this change may not seem very big, I assure you that it is,” one person wrote during the comment period. “While this change may not save the world, it will without a doubt save the worlds of those who need it.”