PORTLAND, Ore. -- Starting in July, Oregonians will likely have access to a third option when identifying gender on their driver's licenses and state-issued identification cards, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Oregon would be the first state in the nation to offer the "X" non-binary marker in addition to “F” for female and “M” for male.
On Wednesday night, several people testified in support of the change at a public hearing in Portland, organized by the DMV.
“I was born as Devin and grew up in a home where none of this was acceptable,” said 19-tear-old Lucy, who prefers to be called a woman. “This is something I've been wanting to see for a long time. They don't know what we're going through and what a constant battle we struggle with every day.”
People like Lucy are testifying at a DMV hearing to adopt non-binary identifier "X," on OR drivers licenses. Only options now are "F" & "M." pic.twitter.com/naH0HAI9ZK— Katherine Cook (@KCookKGW) May 11, 2017
The struggle was emblematized by Jamie Shupe last June. That’s when an Oregon judge said Shupe's legal gender status marker could be changed from female to nonbinary. That court order is what led the DMV to this change.
“The DMV doesn't have a choice,” said DMV spokesman David House. “DMV, law enforcement, we recognize statutes and court actions and as the executive branch, our role is to follow those, not support or oppose.”
House said the DMV has been updating its computer systems since last June, as have other agencies like police and the justice system. The secretary of state's office estimates the change will end up costing about $440,000.
House said Wednesday there was “nothing foreseeable” that would stop the DMV from implementing the non-binary gender marker option in July. For Oregon, it would be another milestone for supporters of gender neutrality. For Lucy, a moment of validation.
“We’re not afraid of what they think of us,” she said. “This is who we are. We are Oregon.”
The Oregon Department of Transportation will take public comment on the issue through Friday, May 12. Click here for more