Oregon adds third gender option to driver's licenses beyond male and female


June 15 (Reuters) - Oregon on Thursday became the first U.S. state to allow residents to identify as neither male nor female on state driver's licenses, a decision that transgender advocates called a victory for civil rights.

Under a policy unanimously adopted by the Oregon Transportation Commission, residents can choose to have an "X," for non-specified, displayed on their driver's license or identification cards rather than an "M" for male or "F" for female.

The policy change was cheered by supporters as a major step in expanding legal recognition and civil rights for people who do not identify as male or female. This includes individuals with both male and female anatomies, people without a gender identity and those who identify as a different gender than listed on their birth certificate.

SEE MORE: LGBTQ history makers remembered during Pride Month​​​

The state's Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division expects to start offering the option in July.

"I very much plan to head to the nearest DMV and ask for that ID to be corrected on July 3rd," said Jamie Shupe, an Army veteran who successfully petitioned for the non-binary gender option. "And then I'll no doubt stand out front of the building, or sit in the car, and cry."

RELATED: The safest cities in the U.S. for the LGBTQ community

26 PHOTOS
The safest cities in America for LGBTQ
See Gallery
The safest cities in America for LGBTQ

Arizona

Cities:  Phoenix, Tempe, Tuscon

Photo Credit: Getty 

Source: HRC

California

Cities:  Cathedral City, Guerneville (Sonoma County), Long Beach, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, West Hollywood

Photo Credit: Getty 

Source: HRC

Connecticut 

City:  Stamford

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Source: HRC

Florida 

Cities:  Orlando, St. Petersburg, Wilton Manors

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Source: HRC

Georgia

City:  Atlanta

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Source: HRC

Illinois 

City: Chicago 

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Source: HRC

Indiana 

City: Bloomington 

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Source: HRC

Iowa

Cities: Ceder Rapids, Davenport, Iowa City

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Source: HRC

Kentucky 

City: Louiseville

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Source: HRC

Maryland

City: Baltimore

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Source: HRC

Massachusetts

Cities: Boston, Cambridge, Provincetown, Salem, Worcester

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Source: HRC

Michigan

Cities:  Ann Arbor, Detroit, East Lansing

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Source: HRC

Minnesota

Cities:  Minneapolis, Saint Paul

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Source: HRC

Missouri 

Cities:  Kansas City, St. Louis

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Source: HRC

Montana 

City:  Missoula

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Source: HRC

Nevada 

Cities:  Enterprise, Las Vegas, Paradise

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Source: HRC

New Jersey

City:  Jersey City 

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Source: HRC

New York 

Cities: Albany, New York, Rochester, Yonkers

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Source: HRC

Ohio

Cities: Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton

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Source: HRC

Oregon

City: Portland 

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Source: HRC

Pennsylvania 

City: Philadelphia 

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Source: HRC

Rhode Island 

City: Providence 

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Source: HRC

Texas

Cities:  Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth

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Source: HRC

Washington 

Cities:  Bellevue, Olympia, Seattle

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Source: HRC

Wisconsin 

City:  Madison 

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Source: HRC

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Transgender rights have become a flashpoint across the United States after some states, including North Carolina, have tried to restrict transgender people's use of public bathrooms.

At the end of May, a federal court ruled that a transgender boy must be allowed to use the boys' bathrooms at his high school in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The decision in Oregon comes a year after a Portland circuit court judge granted a request by Shupe to change gender from female to a third, nongender option.

That 2016 ruling prompted state officials to examine how to allow a third option in the state's computer systems and how such a change would interact with the state's gender laws.

SEE ALSO: 'Gays for Trump' denied participation in Charlotte, NC Pride Month parade

During public hearings on the change, most comments were in favor, according to a summary by DMV officials.

A handful of people questioned the need for the third option and expressed concern that the change would complicate police officers' efforts to identify people.

Having the third option on legal documentation can help reduce discrimination and raise awareness of "the spectrum of gender identity," said Diane Goodwin, spokeswoman for Basic Rights Oregon, an advocacy group that campaigned for the "X" option.

Nearly one-third of transgender people who showed an ID with a name or gender that did not match their perceived gender reported harassment, discrimination or assault, according to a 2015 survey of more than 20,000 people in all states.

A DMV spokesman added the agency has no estimate of how many people might apply for the new IDs.

RELATED: See the surprising historymakers of the LGBTQ community

18 PHOTOS
LGBTQ history makers
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LGBTQ history makers

Bayard Rustin (1912-1987) - Civil rights activist and openly gay man. He served as an advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and organized the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

(Photo by Patrick A. Burns/New York Times Co./Getty Images)

James Baldwin (1924 – 1987) - Civil rights activist and author from Harlem. He wrote his second novel in 1956 -- "Giovanni's Room." The work dealt explicitly with homosexuality and was published at a time when few other writers dared to publish gay-themed works, according to LGBT History Month

(Photo by Robert Elfstrom/Villon Films/Gety Images)

Alan Turing (1912-1954) - British mathematician whose work is widely acknowledged as the foundation of research in artificial intelligence.

(Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

Moms Mabley (1894 – 1975) - Lesbian stand up comedian who starred in films and frequently headlined at the Apollo Theater. 

(Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Marsha P. Johnson (1945-1992) - A famous transgender woman and LGBT activist, Johnson was a veteran of the Stonewall Riot in New York City. She and Sylvia Rivera founded STAR: Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries in 1970 to push for trans rights and offer shelter for homeless transgender teens.

(REUTERS/Diana Davies-NYPL/Handout)

Josephine Baker (1906 – 1975) - Singer, dancer and actress who became very popular in France in the 20s. She was also a civil rights activist. Baker was bisexual -- she married and divorced several men, as well as carrying on affairs with women, including Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

(Photo by ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Harvey Milk (1930-1978) - First openly gay man to be elected to public office in California when he served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977.

(Photo by Bettmann via Getty Images)

Alexis Arquette (1969 – 2016) - Transgender actress who transitioned to female in her 30s. She is known for her roles in films like “The Wedding Singer” and “Last Exit to Brooklyn.”

(Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Sally Ride (1951-2012) - America’s first woman in space waited until her death to tell the world that she was gay. The NASA astronaut’s obituary referred to “her partner of 27 years.” After Ride’s death, her sister wrote in an essay that she hopes “it makes it easier for kids growing up gay that they know that another one of their heroes was like them.”

(Photo by Express Newspapers/Getty Images)

Lesley Gore (1946 – 2015) - The famous American singer, most known for her hits “It’s My Party” and “You Don’t Own Me,” was openly gay.

(Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Tennessee Williams (1912-1983) - Williams was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright, who wrote some of Broadway's most successful shows -- including 'A Streetcar Named Desire' and 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.' Several of his works were adapted into Oscar-winning films, starring Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor, among other famous actors at the time. 

Williams was in a relationship with his longtime partner, Frank Merlo, for 14 years until Merlo's death in 1963. 

Matthew Shepard (1976 – 1998) - Shepard was a student at the University of Wyoming when he was killed in a horrific hate crime. At the time, hate crime laws did not extend to the LGBTQ community. His death sparked a nationwide debate and ultimately led to the passing of new legislation -- the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (2009)

(Photo credit ANDREW CUTRARO/AFP/Getty Images)

Audre Lorde (1934 – 1992) - She considered herself “a black feminist lesbian mother poet.” She was also a vocal civil rights activist and leader for the advancement of the LGBT community.

(Photo by Robert Alexander/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

Nancy Kulp (1921 – 1991) - Lesbian actress most known for her role as Miss Jane Hathaway in the popular ‘60s sitcom "The Beverly Hillbillies."

(Photo by Bettmann via Getty Images)

Rock Hudson (1925 – 1985) - The legendary actor kept his sexuality a secret at the height of his Hollywood fame in the '60s. Hudson was diagnosed with AIDS in July 1985 and revealed he was gay in a press release just months before he died in October of the same year. 

His death is credited with fueling Elizabeth Taylor's AIDS advocacy. 

Alvin Ailey (1931 – 1989) - American choreographer and LGBT activist, Ailey formed the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater in New York City in 1958. His dance company welcomed and celebrated black dancers who were frequently ignored by major companies. 

American drag queen and actor Divine (1945-1988, born Harris Glenn Milstead) - Milstead, who identified as male, found mainstream success with his drag persona -- Divine. Divine's biggest hit was in 1988's 'Hairspray,' playing the role of Edna Turnbald. 

At the peak of his fame, he died of an enlarged heart. 

(Photo by Tim Boxer/Getty Images)

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(Reporting by Terray Sylvester in Hood River, Oregon; Writing by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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