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Oregon Lawmakers Advance Measure To Streamline Transgender Document Changes

Visitor7 / Wikimedia -
File photo of the Oregon House Chambers at the state Capitol in Salem.

Oregon lawmakers are advancing a measure that would make it easier for transgender people to change their identity on government documents.

Whether it's going to the doctor's office or boarding a flight, there are lots of times when we're asked to show identification. Democratic Representative Rob Nosse of Portland said that can be difficult or even traumatic for people whose gender on their ID does not match how they present themselves.

"You're outing yourself as transgender and exposing yourself to the potential for unwanted, maybe awkward and invasive questions, and possibly judgment and harassment,” Nosse said.

Right now, transgender people in Oregon must go through a very public process to change their gender identity on an Oregon birth certificate or other official documents. That includes a court hearing and even posting a public notice in the lobby of the county courthouse.

The measure approved in the Oregon House would allow transgender people to skip the court order and apply directly to the state. The bill passed the House 37-23 on a mostly party line vote and now heads to the Oregon Senate for consideration.

Only one lawmaker spoke against the measure during a floor debate Wednesday. Republican Cedric Hayden of Roseburg said he supported the concept, but wanted it expanded to include streamlining the process of changing official documents for victims of domestic violence or children in foster care.

Democrats said they'd introduce a separate bill to address those concerns.

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.