(CN) – In a decision praised by transgender rights activists, Oregon will be the first state to allow residents to mark a third, “not specified” gender option on state identification cards.
Starting in July, the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles will allow people to mark an “X” for an unspecified, non-binary gender on driver’s licenses and ID cards.
The decision came after a Multnomah County Court judge granted a transgender person’s petition to be legally considered “non-binary” last year.
The ruling, which is believed to be the first of its kind, allowed Portland resident Jamie Shupe to mark that designation in a standard petition for change of sex.
Since Shupe’s petition was granted, judges in two Oregon counties have granted similar petitions to transgender people.
Under Oregon law, a judge can grant a petition for change of sex if a person submits proper evidence of hormonal, surgical or other gender transition treatment.
After the ruling, which was praised by LGBT advocates, Shupe told the Daily Dot that the next step was “to tackle the Oregon DMV.”
Earlier this year, the DMV announced tentative plans to add a third gender option on its forms, formed an advisory group, and held public hearings on the topic. More than 110 people testified in favor of the change.
The civil rights group Lambda Legal was among those who submitted comments urging an update to the rules.
“Presenting an identification document that does not accurately reflect one’s sex and is inconsistent with one’s gender identity can trigger invasions of privacy, prejudice, stigma, violence, and discrimination and harassment in a wide variety of settings, including in employment, education, public accommodations, health care, housing, and interactions with the government, including with law enforcement,” the group wrote.
California lawmakers have introduced a similar bill to allow a non-binary option on IDs.
And in more than a dozen cities, including New York City and Detroit, residents can mark a “not designated” sex option on municipal ID cards.
“Our lives are so gendered, which is why it’s important that driver licenses and other forms of IDs recognize people who are non-binary,” Nancy Haque of Basic Rights Oregon said in a statement.
“Removing barriers for people is critical to helping all of us live healthy, productive lives.”