The Oregon Department of Education is introducing a new gender option for students and teachers.
Starting this September — the new school year — they’ll have the option of marking "X" for gender on school forms, instead of just "M" for male or "F" for female.
The state says the new option gives people who identify as non-binary or gender-fluid a choice other than male or female. That choice will be included as part of the education department’s "Secure Student Identifier" code or "Unique Staff Identifier Number."
The department has asked all school districts around the state to offer a third option. It says districts don't have to reprint new registration forms, but they should be able to handle requests for the third option if necessary.
The department says existing staff should be offered the chance to re-identify as non-binary if they choose. And it says districts can offer additional gender codes if they want, but they have to be able to collapse those extra categories into the M, F or X options for reporting back to the state.
Districts will not be allowed to offer fewer than three options.
An email from Colt Gill, the director of the Oregon Department of Education, said that the department values equity and the change is a step toward gender inclusivity.
“For students, teachers and staff to be successful, they must be safe in their school environment,” he wrote.
The education department move follows recent changes by the Oregon Department of Transportation and the legislature to include a non-binary gender option on drivers licenses and birth certificates.
In July 2017, Oregon became the first state in the nation to allow residents to select a non-binary gender on their licenses.