A Multnomah County circuit judge ruled today that a Portlander can legally change gender identification to non-binary—neither male nor female.
The Portlander, Jamie Shupe, asked Multnomah County Circuit Court to legally recognize a sex change from female to non-binary. Shupe had completed a sex change from male to female, but wanted to change legal status to neither.
Today, Judge Amy Holmes Hehn granted Shupe's request. "The sex of Jamie Shupe is hereby changed from female to non-binary," Hehn wrote.
Advocates praised the ruling as a momentous step in recognizing the rights of transgender and gender-nonconforming people. It is likely to be the latest flashpoint in national arguments over transgender rights.
Shupe tells WW in an email that the judge's decision is "incredibly liberating."
"The ruling means to me that I am no longer confined by either a male or female sex classification that failed to adequately describe who I really am," Shupe says. "I am very humbled to live in such a great state as Oregon, which has tremendous respect for transgender people and human rights."
The Daily Dot first reported the court ruling this afternoon.
The Transgender Law Center tells Daily Dot reporter Mary Emily O'Hara this is the first case in the nation in which a court said someone could legally identify as neither male nor female.
Shupe was born in Pittsburgh, Penn. "I was originally assigned male at birth," Shupe says. "I grew up in a rural, conservative area and entered the military after high school, so I was never able to adequately explore my gender until after I retired from the Army."
Shupe moved to Oregon in 2014, having sought a legal recognition of sex change from male to female in Pittsburgh.
Shupe has not undergone gender reassignment surgery.
"Non-binary means different things to different people," Shupe says, "but for me it most means that I am a third sex that's comprised of being born with both male and female characteristics that cannot be adequately classified with just a male or female designation. I feel imprisoned if you force me to be labeled exclusively as either of those. I am healthiest existing without all of the baggage associated with those two rigid classifications of sex."
Shupe hopes the ruling sets a national precedent.
"My hopes are that the ruling says to others like me that they are now being given long overdue recognition for gender identities that fall outside of the male/female binary classification system," Shupe tells WW. "I further hope that everyone who refuses to be classified as solely male or female will now have the opportunity to come forward and be recognized for who they truly are."