An Oregon judge ruled Friday that a transgender person can legally change their sex to “non-binary” rather than male or female in what legal experts believe is a first in the United States. Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Amy Holmes Hehn legally changed 52-year-old Jamie Shupe‘s sex from “female” to non-binary.
Nancy Haque, a co-executive director for Basic Rights Oregon, called the ruling a “momentous day for genderqueer Oregonians.” “It’s really exciting for the courts to actually recognize what we know to be true: gender is a spectrum,” Haque said. “Some people don’t identify as male or female.”
Shupe, an Army veteran who retired in 2000 a sergeant first class, began transitioning in 2013 while living in Pittsburg. Shupe knew then that neither male nor female fit. Shupe chose “Jamie” as a new first name primarily because it is a gender-neutral name. Shupe prefers to be called “Jamie,” rather than by a pronoun.
“I was assigned male at birth due to biology,” Shupe said. “I’m stuck with that for life. My gender identity is definitely feminine. My gender identity has never been male, but I feel like I have to own up to my male biology. Being non-binary allows me to do that. I’m a mixture of both. I consider myself as a third sex.”
But female or male were the only legal options Shupe saw then. Shupe chose female, but female never felt right. In April, Shupe and lawyer Lake Perriguey filed a petition with the Oregon court to legally change Shupe’s sex.
Oregon law allows a court to change a person’s legal sex if a judge determines the person has undergone surgical, hormonal or other treatment related to a gender transition. The law does not require a note from a doctor.
Shupe brought letters from Oregon Health & Science University, as well as the Veterans Affairs hospital, anyway. – MORE –