This State Is The First To Legally Recognize A Person With Non-Binary Gender


In what is hopefully a sign for LGBTQ+ rights everywhere, Jamie Shupe, a resident of Portland, Oregon, just became the first person in the United States to be legally recognized by a state as having a non-binary gender.

Identifying as non-binary basically means a person doesn't identify as being just "male" and also doesn't identify as being just "female."

But, how people define themselves can often fly in the face of government definitions of who people are.

In an ideal world, the government wouldn't need to legally classify anyone's gender - congrats to Jamie Shupe. — Jessie Christiansen (@aussiastronomer) June 11, 2016

That's what makes the ruling on Friday from Oregon's Judge Amy Holmes Hehn so amazing.

This is awesome. Thank you Jamie Shupe for requesting the change. — madison (@madiskell) June 11, 2016

For the first time, someone whose identity didn't fall into conventional gender definitions was able to be legally recognized as not belonging to either gender. In other words, non-binary gender is now a legal category, at least in Oregon.

According to CNN, Jamie Shupe, who identifies as neither male nor female, said of the decision,

It feels amazing to be free from a binary sex classification system that inadequately addressed who I really am, a system in which I felt confined.

Shupe apparently filed a gender change petition in April after deciding male and female titles didn't really fit.

Shupe told The Daily Dot,

Male and female are the traditional categories, but they fail to properly categorize people like me. So I challenged that.

Lake J. Perriguey, who filed Shupe's petition, said,

Oregon law has allowed for people to petition a court for a gender change for years, but the law doesn't specify that it has to be either male or female. The law just says, 'change.' Historically, people have asked for a gender change from male to female and the other way around, but Jamie is the first to ask for the gender of 'nonbinary.'

According to The Daily Dot, Perriguey filed the petition with two letters from Shupe's primary care doctors that recommended classifying Shupe's gender as non-binary.

Citations: Oregon court allows resident to change sex from female to nonbinary (CNN), 'Nonbinary' is now a legal gender, Oregon court rules (The Daily Dot)