Today in absolutely wonderful news, Oregon is making history during Pride Month! How, you ask? Well, starting July 3rd, the state of Oregon will now offer a gender-neutral option on issued driver’s licenses for genderqueer, transgender, and non-binary residents. Which means, instead of choosing from the male-female binary (“M” or “F”) to identify gender, there will be a third option available: “X” for “not specified.”
Oregon will be the first state to give drivers a non-binary option, which is a huge civil rights win for those who don’t identify as either male or female. According to BuzzFeed News, Transportation Commission member Sean O’Hollaren said that though the process for changing the rule was simple, its impact for non-binary people was much larger.
“When we request approval on an administrative rule, it just doesn’t do it justice,” he said. “It’s fitting that this is before us during Pride Week in Oregon and Pride Month around the country.”
The unanimous decision by the Oregon Transportation Commission is the final step in a year-long process that began in June 2016, when Portland resident Jamie Shupe became the first legally non-binary person — identifying as neither male nor female — in the country.
“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.”
On Twitter, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown — the first openly LGBT governor in the country — said:
One more step to dismantling institutional bias and creating a more inclusive Oregon. https://t.co/11165lGj9A
— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) June 15, 2017
We couldn’t agree more! This marks a huge step forward, but there is still much work to be done. Activists hope an “X” gender designation is on the way in other states, and eventually, for U.S. passports. Especially since places like Australia and New Zealand already have the option to choose an “X” gender on passports.
C’mon, America, we’re rooting for you!