A flyer supporting third gender option: XAfter years of political pressure, Oregon will break new ground by becoming the first state in the U.S. to officially recognize a third gender: “X”. Thanks to a decision from the state’s transportation department, residents will now be given the choice to identify as a non-binary gender on driver’s licenses and official government IDs. As soon as next month, “X” will appear as a new option alongside the traditional “M” or “F” choices.

Small Changes, Huge Strides

While on the surface it might not seem like a major policy shift (it’s just a letter, after all), the passing of this new law carries tremendous significance for the LGBT community and all those advocating for a more progressive approach to gender.

“This change in ID is a huge piece of validation for me,” explains J. Gibbons, a 26-year-old, non-binary, transgender Portland resident who uses gender-neutral “they” pronouns. “The state of Oregon sees me for who I am. I don’t even think ‘excitement’ can capture all of my emotions about this change.”

Beyond signifying acceptance from broader society, many in the LGBT community say they also feel empowered and safer as a direct result of the policy change.

“ID cards are something we show at banks, to new bosses, to police, to bartenders,” explains Danno Mannino, a gender fluid Oregonian. “And every time I have to pull it out of my wallet, my heart sinks that my true name and gender are not acknowledged on it yet. … The smallest of interactions, as they build and build, weigh heavy on the hearts of our community. We are hurting and are asking to be considered.”

Jamie Shupe, an Oregon resident who identifies as non-binary gender.

Jamie Shupe, an Army veteran and current Oregon resident who identifies as neither male nor female.


The Courtroom: A Catalyst for Change

As with countless other changes in the law, the decision to add a third gender option stemmed directly from a previous ruling by an Oregon judge. After taking their case to court, Army veteran Jamie Shupe was given permission from the judge to legally identify as non-binary. Shupe’s argument was a simple one:

“After serving honorably and having earned the Army achievement medal eight times, the Army commendation medal four times, and the meritorious service medal twice in my service to this nation, I think I deserve the right to properly classify my identity here on the homeland.”

The judge agreed, paving the way for a policy change.

The symbol for transgender peopleThe Decision

Prior the change, a public hearing was held on the issue. During the meeting, person after person got up to testify for the change. Most struggled to fight back their tears as they related their struggles to the courtroom. The common theme: it’s the little things, day to day, that weigh on people that don’t fit existing gender constructs.

One particular story involved an embarrassing situation at the airport. The non-binary person explained how they had to pass through a body scanner at airport security, and the TSA officer wasn’t sure whether to push the blue button (indicating a male passenger) or the pink one (for female passengers).

Compelled by the testimony of people affected, the transportation commission voted in favor of the change.

But What About Biology?

As it turns out, not everyone is on board with redefining gender as a fluid concept. In the wake of the recent change, online debate heated up fast. By far the most common argument against adding a non-binary gender category is rooted in biology. It’s a black and white issue, opponents insist. Either you have male chromosomes or female chromosomes. This argument seems to resonate with a lot of people – when we posted about this story on our Facebook page, here was the top comment:

“There’s only male, female, and a mutation/abnormality called hermaphrodite. Period. This is basic biology 101. Everyone who says differently needs to go back to high school biology class.”

Is There Room for A Third Gender?

With strong feelings on both sides, the issue is far from settled. On the one hand, it’s clear that many people reject the very concept of gender fluidity, convinced it’s the latest indication of a breakdown in societal norms and values. On the other, you have individuals offering personal testimony to demonstrate how this non-acceptance negatively affects them on a daily basis.

Where do you stand? Should people be allowed to identify as “X”?

 

66 comments

  1. Tom says:

    It seems to me that there is no necessity to identify people as to sexual orientation at all…a picture, birth date, address and social security number are enough…Tom

    1. Alun Palmer says:

      This seems to be right

      1. Tom says:

        Thank you, Alun…Tom

        1. Lo Burns says:

          I believe that the Sex of an individual has to deal with the biological reproduction organs at birth. Gender has to do with what the individual feels/believes they are orientated to. Can someone be more specific than I can with definitions?

    2. diggeriraq says:

      It matters when having to decide whether to put the person in a FEMALE lockup or a MALE lockup.

      1. inga says:

        good point.. and childrens bathrooms in schools.. or any public bathrooms actually, atleast on this side of the globe.

      2. Rev paul collins says:

        Good point i can understand that

    3. inga says:

      good thing they dont ask for FAITH yet.. lol. can you imagine ??

      1. Tom says:

        Inga…agreed…the issue of gender is a nonsense issue that has nothing to do with the quality of a person…Tom

        1. Tom says:

          Inga…also, whether someone has something called “faith” is nobody’s business…Tom

        2. diggeriraq says:

          faith has nothing to do with the quality of a person. When I was a TDC prison guard, I saw a lot of really righteous so called Christians that were locked up for rape, child molestation and worse. They had faith but they were terrible people.

          1. Tom says:

            diggeriraq…good point…when people label themselves, whether for politics, religion or any other, they usually have issues with other people, and they get involved with judgments…Tom

          2. inga says:

            i know.. thats WHY i made the comment.. good thing the govt hasnt asked for faith.. lol

    4. Stephen Venneman says:

      This does not concern sexual orientation, it concerns gender identity. Having a third option certainly addresses the issue of identity, but in regards to TSA screening systems, anatomical gender has two options. Insofar as I can see, this would have no relevance to such situations, as the Oregon Drivers License is not changing a person’s physical gender. So, we now ask: Should the ID card show gender identity, anatomical gender, or both?

    5. dotwilson@comcast.net says:

      I agree with Tom.

      1. Tom says:

        Thank you, Dot…Tom

  2. diggeriraq says:

    What a way for trannies and perverts to get around the bathroom issue !!!!! IT IS VERY SIMPLE =
    If a person is BORN a Male , then HE is a MALE !!
    If a person is BORN a Female , then SHE is a FEMALE !!
    If born a male , then that person should use the MALE bathroom !
    If born a female , then that person should use the FEMALE bathroom.
    A preacher friend of mine said =
    ” GOD, IS WHO DECIDES WHAT GENDER A PERON IS TO BE ! “

    1. Clayton Beardmore says:

      So simple that it will be “spun.” You’re right! I just wonder “what ever happened to common sense?” Many comments that will follow (and precede) this one will say that it is not a bathroom issue – but we all know it is, don’t we?

      1. Brother John says:

        Coming from you Clayton, the question “I just wonder “what ever happened to common sense?” made me laugh.

      2. julia m okamoto says:

        The first thing God did when he created man as in mankind was to give them a gender. Let us make man in our image, male and female he created them! Seems pretty clear to me. As far as common sense goes I have found that it is not so common these days.

        1. Chaplain Mike says:

          Yes, Adam and Eve – not Adam and Steve. The idea is preservation of the species, whether you believe we’re worth it or not anymore…

          1. Tom says:

            Chaplain Mike…respectfully, the “idea” is the resolution of karma, so we can return to God…and the concept of “worth” has no real meaning…we are all the same; just at different stages of karmic resolution…what we ascribe as “gender” has no real meaning…it is just a stage of this illusion designed to resolve karma…Tom

    2. Kim Maybee says:

      God didn’t decide what each of us became, our parents did, it called genetics. We were all created equal no matter what our sexual choices are. Whether born a man and becoming a woman, or a woman becoming a man it is a choice. No matter what the Lord will accept us as we are. Generation X is a choice. We are humans and should be allowed to make our own choices.

    3. Ronald Mason says:

      So where would you put me? I was born a true hermaphrodite with fully functional genitalia of both male and female.

    4. CE Humble says:

      The issue at hand seems to be about feelings and not about facts. Does anyone have any comments about what law enforcement is up against ? If I am born a male and commit a crime which requires me to be searched and my drivers license is makes with a X. Who will be giving me my cavity search ? Male ? Female or a X ? Feelings or Biology. I sticking with Biology

  3. Gary Shade says:

    They say that there are now over 95 genders. If I had a dollar for every gender, I’d still have only TWO. The other dollars would all be counterfeit.

  4. Joseph E Knopick says:

    NO! You cannot legislate Gender! Gender is a genetic maker. What is the State of Oregon somehow going to hold Chromosomes to prosecution if they fail to acknowledge a fictional gender exists? Seriously, Someone needs to stand up for truth. NO MORE LIES!

    1. Tom says:

      Joseph…the truth is that God made/makes everything, and to deny the actuality of any of our fellow beings, is to deny a part of God…you can pick and choose, if you like, but it only harms you…Tom

      1. Joseph E Knopick says:

        God made everything…then to surgically and chemically change your physical body and decide that you were made in the wrong gender, hmm, sounds like picking and choosing to me Tom, or Denying the part of God being the creator, But to each there own right?

        1. Brother John says:

          Joseph, Tom, Joseph, and others……. As there is no proof whatsoever that any god even exists, let alone one that “made everything”, you should learn to preface your statements with “I believe” or “in my opinion” to make them accurate.

          “Non-believers” would find it far more reasonable if you weren’t presenting beliefs as facts, particularly if you add condemnation and threats towards those who don’t share your beliefs.

          “It is an insult to God to believe in God. For on the one hand it is to suppose that he has perpetrated acts of incalculable cruelty. On the other, it is to suppose that he has perversely given his human creatures an instrument — their intellect — which must inevitably lead them, if they are dispassionate and honest, to deny his existence. It is tempting to conclude that if he exists, it is the atheists and agnostics that he loves best, among those with any pretensions to education. For they are the ones who have taken him most seriously.” — Galen Strawson

          “Wherever morality is based on theology, wherever the right is made dependent on divine authority, the most immoral, unjust, infamous things can be justified and established.” — Ludwig Feuerbach

          “One’s convictions should be proportional to one’s evidence.” — Sam Harris

          1. Tom says:

            Brother John…you are free to “believe” whatever you want…and neither I nor you need try to prove anything…i know we are all part of God; I know we reincarnate to achieve balance (Karma)…whether you know this or not, is up to you…the quotes you present are judgments, and not reality…try meditating on God…peace to you…Tom

          2. Pastor Pete says:

            Hear hear Brother John, well said, I do find it astonishing that so much dogmatic negativity comes from Christians, but given that their beliefs appear to be somewhat contradictory I suppose I shouldn’t….
            Hope all is well with you.

      2. Tom says:

        Pastor Pete…i do not see the point of your comment…if you “know” something, there is no need to prove it to anyone…Tom

  5. Joseph E Knopick says:

    Oh let’s just make it easy for delusional minorty to feel accepted! Let’s pass a law that recognizes no actual gender at law. Just imagine the driver’s liscence, **Name: Gil Q. Minority, Address 123 Any Street, Portland, OR, Hair: Chartruce, Eyes: Like a goat, Hgt: 5″ 9″ DOB: 06/24/1997 Restrictions: None Sex: IT.** Come on!

  6. Veida Patience Isaac says:

    The truth is, God made male and female. Plain and simple.

    1. Tom says:

      Veida…the truth is that God made/makes everything and everyone…Tom

      1. Joseph E Knopick says:

        Tom, God made them, yes, he made them Male.

        1. Tom says:

          Joseph…how do you know that God has not made everyone, including those with physical or psychological variations on male and female?…no one took this position until people in this world claimed they were speaking for God, and made judgments and rules…why is there any more or less value to any being than any other?…Tom

          1. inga says:

            the importance of punctuation:
            what for dinner tom ?
            tom, whats for dinner.
            whats for dinner. tom.

          2. Tom says:

            Inga…sure i are; everybody do…Tom

  7. inga says:

    and then their are the hermiphidites. people who physically have the attributes of male AND female..
    so it can stand to reason that there are those who stand to have mental attributes of both male and female.

  8. inga says:

    and then i guess we could therefore also have the genetic variation of those with neither.
    “the norm” is not necessarily the measure. its just where the most research goes as the moneys get the biggest bang for the buck.
    efficiency.
    but efficiency isnt the only answer. it is merely “a” answer.

  9. Diane Baum says:

    I dunno…it says in the Bible…”male and female, God made them…” but here WE are taking that whole idea away by saying we can be who we have CHOSEN to be, which cancels God out entirely.

    1. Tom says:

      Diane…there is no way to “cancel God out entirely”…everything we perceive we are doing is a result of being part of God…Tom

    2. inga says:

      the bible was also written in the day when they thought the earth was flat.. lol
      (not to open up a can of worms..)

      history is HIS STORY.. written by those who chose to write. not ALL history is documented and or preserved. biblically or not.
      and keep in mind.. you only have the sections of the bible in your hand that were “approved” . there is much more than what made the public books.

  10. John Owens says:

    Joseph, I’m sure you get a big kick out of the arguments, but I’m going to do everyone a favor and sit this one out.

    1. Joseph E Knopick says:

      The only Big Kick I get is the one I see happening to Truth. Even evident Truth, Huh I have male parts….I should be a girl? Can’t, John I can’t, It is when good people remain silent evil prevails.

  11. Bernard Moleman says:

    WOW LIBERALS DISGUST ME. They are truly ALL perverts and this is proof.

    1. Stephen Venneman says:

      I’m liberal, married, and I have three children. Am I a pervert because I support a person’s choice of how they want to identify themselves? Can you explain to me why I am a pervert? (Bible quotes do not constitute an argument.)

  12. Keith says:

    Anyone notice that the guy who wants to be referred to as “they” said “…validation for me…sees me for who I am.” Shouldn’t he have said “us” and “we?” If you get to make the rules, shouldn’t you have to follow them?

    1. Stephen Venneman says:

      I’m fairly certain J. Gibbons can only speak for J. Gibbons, and not every transgender/gender-neutral person out there. As for the pronoun, since there is no other gender-neutral pronoun what would you suggest they use?

  13. Rev John says:

    As usual this hasn’t been thought through. Yes, there is a third sex but that is Hermaphrodite although they usually have a promonant sex due to their chromosomes. The idea of a third sex is like a child being asked, what is Gay?
    There is no need for a third sex just an acceptance of People being gay, straight or bi-sexual. What is the third? Gay or Bi?
    As I said ‘not thought through’.
    Kindest regards,
    Rev John

    1. Stephen Venneman says:

      What about acceptance for those who do not identify with being male or female? This is not about sexuality or sexual orientation, it is about identity. There is a difference.

  14. Mike Mahler says:

    Nature is and always has been the greatest engineer in the universe. A large variety of species including mammals were designed in pairs. One who carried the equipment neccesary to create life. One to carry the seed to spark that life into existence. Yi and yang. Male and female. Call it god or whatever it is just the way we are designed and it serves the purpose of continuing our existence. It’s only my opinion but if you think your anything other than what your biolical equipment would suggest then you have a psychological problem not a physical one.

  15. Stephen Venneman says:

    I am disappointed that so many people think this is an issue of sexual orientation. It is not. Sexual orientation concerns whom someone is attracted to, romantically, sexually, etc. The X gender identity discussed here refers to a person’s gender identity. Some people are super-macho, some people are super-feminine, and they do not necessarily require that you be male or female. Take for example the women now serving in Army Infantry units, or the men who seek pedicures and know the difference between ghost white and baby powder white. (Please pardon the extreme stereotypes.) There are people out there who do not identify with their anatomical gender, and those who flow between identifying as male, then female, depending on the situation. There are those who do not identify as either gender at all. These are very simple examples, but I hope you get the idea.

    The Oregon ID recognizing a third gender doesn’t indicate that this person likes men, that person likes women, and the person over there digs everyone. What it does do is identify a person’s pronoun. He, she, they, we, even it.

  16. Rev.Sydney Charnley says:

    Just by the bye, there are genetically non-specific inter-genders of bi-genders ~ e.g., “hermaphrodites”, and such as XXY, and XYY individuals, who could legitimately qualify to be qualified as a “third sex” , , , removing this consideration from an exclusively culturally acceptable, or faith, issues.

    1. CW says:

      by the by hermaphrodites genetic coding is still xx and xy you uneducated Bill Nye sheep.

  17. saralamb says:

    I have always had a really tough time understanding why someone would want to go to such extraordinary means to change their gender. I have a gay friend suggest that transgenders would rather go through all the surgery and the hormones than admit they are gay.

  18. CW says:

    You are either a boy or a girl. Even a transgender identifies as either, or. Now, Oregon land of the rapist and child molesters get 6 months road cleaning crew for 3rd office, wants to let the crazy people say they are a 3rd thing not human. You wither have a [penis or you don’t. Even Gay men use the men room. If you still have a penis you will use the men bathroom whatever one of the two sexes you identify with period. Oregon has no right to put science up to popular vote but then again they do rank lowest in education in the nation.

  19. Bill Fox says:

    Identification documents should contain photographs and fingerprints. In the future, Iris identification and DNA. This will eliminate the need for sexual identification. We have had fingerprint ID on Driver’s Licenses in the past and it didn’t bother me at all. Every five years I submit finger prints to the GBI and FBI to renew my concealed carry license. I would rather use finger prints than a chip, because chips can be removed, changed, and counterfeited. It’s more difficult to counterfeit fingerprints.

  20. Ang says:

    You can’t feel your gender into being. Biology does play a role in this debate. Male and female are the two genders. Anything else is mental illness and should be treated as such. I do believe you can be attracted to the same sex, or both sexes, but biologically you are one or the other. Mutations do exist such as Turner’s syndrome, or hermaphroditism. Those are not the norm. I agree with the individual who brought up common sense.

  21. Lisa Rudisill says:

    No to “X” gender.

  22. Tom says:

    To All…i inadvertently posted my writing on the Oregon law on the “Cake Wars” blog…please note…thanks…Tom

  23. Sheila Abrahams says:

    God made M, F, and X. They are all good.
    The duality of either male or female is the opinion of men, not God.
    On a biological note, there are numerous genetic “abnormalities,”
    Abnormalities, of course, meaning what does not fit into man’s categories.

  24. Rev. Ned says:

    Only 3? Seems there should be more.

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