PORTLAND, Ore. — An Oregon resident who has become the first person in the United States to legally be designated as non-binary can't get a driver's license with that sex designation.
Jamie Shupe, 52, was designated as non-binary following a Multnomah County judge's ruling earlier this month. Shupe, a retired Army sergeant, was born with male anatomy.
"Everything that was going on was wrong... The way I like to describe my situation is, I picture that I had a black father and a white mother. And I was the equivalent of a mixed race child. So if we take out the word race and instead change it with sex characteristics, that's who I am. I am someone who was born with mixed sex characteristics. To classify me as solely male or solely female was an injustice," Shupe explained.
As the Statesman Journal first reported, the Oregon DMV recently told Shupe it could be months, even years, until they can get a license not specifying a sex.
Shupe said they have multiple identification cards without sex specifications, including a US Army retirement ID, a Veterans Affairs card and a social security card.
"There is no logical argument that I have to have a card from the state that says male or female on it," Shupe said. "I have some understanding of technology. If they really wanted to do something, they could ... when they start talking years, that makes me distrustful of what's going on because that tells me, 'Oh maybe we'll just sit back and wait for some court decision and it'll blow this up.'"
Shupe said getting a license without male or female specificity is a validation of who they are.
"This is the very first time in my life everybody has recognized, this is who Jamie is. It's very important for my well-being," Shupe said.
David House with the Oregon DMV told KATU News they only found out about the non-binary designation after the court already approved it.
"We don't have a system for a third gender and we don't have the capacity or the capability to add that today," House said.
House said it may take going to the legislature to change any laws that designate what's included on driver's licenses, plus coordinating any computer changes so that law enforcement computers don't crash when officers search a license with new designation.
"This was a surprise. As far as we can tell this is a pioneering effort. It's a first, first time anyone's approached a DMV with this kind of a request," House said.