Oregon Just Added a Third Gender Option on Driver’s Licenses

It’s a big win for the LGBT community.

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Oregon is now the first state to allow a third gender option on driver’s licenses. Starting July 1, people who identify as gender nonbinary—neither male nor female—can list their sex as “X” instead of “F” or “M.”

The decision, approved by the Oregon Transportation Commission on Thursday, could affect thousands of people. About 20,000 people in the state are transgender. And while there aren’t statistics to show just how many Oregonians identify as nonbinary, on a national level, more than a third of transgender people say they’re nonbinary.

Gender-nonconforming Oregonians applauded the move. “The state of Oregon sees me for who I am,” 26-year-old J Gibbons told the Guardian. “I don’t even think ‘excitement’ can capture all of my emotions about this change.” Jamie Shupe, who last year won the right in a Portland court to legally identify as nonbinary, is now counting down the days to get a correct ID at the DMV. “And then I’ll no doubt stand out front of the building, or sit in the car, and cry,” they told Reuters.

The new licenses could make them safer, too. The 2015 US Transgender Survey found that many gender-nonconforming people were verbally harassed, denied services, asked to leave venues, or even assaulted after showing an ID that didn’t list their preferred name or gender.

Oregon didn’t need legislative approval for its measure, the Oregonian reports, because it doesn’t have a law requiring people to identify as male or female on their licenses.

Meanwhile, California lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow residents to identify as nonbinary on driver’s licenses—as well as birth certificates and other state documents. So while Oregon’s the first state to allow a third gender option, it likely won’t be the last.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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