Oregon becomes the first state to legally recognize "nonbinary" individuals on ID cards, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation, which is making the option available beginning in July. (Amber Ferguson/The Washington Post)

Oregon residents will soon have three options when selecting their gender on driver’s licenses and state identification cards: “M” for male, “F” for female and “X” for a nonspecified gender.

In offering them, Oregon becomes the first state to legally recognize “non-binary” individuals on ID cards, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation, which is making the option available beginning in July. The measure was approved Thursday by the Oregon Transportation Commission, according to the Oregonian.


An employee of the advocacy group Basic Rights Oregon hands out stickers during an Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle department public hearing on May 10. (Terray Sylvester/Reuters)

The change became inevitable after an Oregon judge’s decision last June to allow then 52-year-old Jamie Shupe the right to legally identify as non-binary, which was thought to be a first in the United States, according to NPR.

“My gender identity has never been male, but I feel like I have to own up to my male biology,” Shupe told the Oregonian at the time. “Being non-binary allows me to do that. I’m a mixture of both. I consider myself as a third sex.”

The Department of Motor Vehicles said in a statement that it took roughly a year to implement the change because “time was required to study state laws, update computer systems, work with business partners such as law enforcement and courts, and change administrative rules.”

DMV spokesman David House told the Guardian, “There was very little opposition” to the change.

A 2015 report by the National Center for Transgender Equality, found that people who show IDs that don’t match their identities regularly report facing harassment and in some cases physical violence.

California’s state Senate passed a bill on May 31 to allow a third gender option on all state issued documents. It’s awaiting a vote in the House. Oregon’s change did not require a legislative vote, the Oregonian reported.

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