‘Non-Binary’ Is Now a Legal Gender
In what may be a first-of-its-kind ruling in the US, an Oregon court ruled Friday that Portland resident Jamie Shupe is officially and legally neither male nor female but non-binary, Jezebel reports. According to theOregonian, 52-year-old Army veteran Shupe was born a male but never felt that fit. Neither did female. “My gender identity has never been male, but I feel like I have to own up to my male biology,” Shupe says. “Being non-binary allows me to do that. I’m a mixture of both. I consider myself as a third sex.” Shupe’s attorney tells CNN Oregon law allows people to have their gender legally changed but doesn’t specify it has to be changed to either male or female. The Daily Dot calls Friday’s ruling “historic,” and the co-executive director of Basic Rights Oregon says it’s a “momentous day for genderqueer Oregonians.”
Shupe, who avoids gender pronouns and goes by the honorific “Mx.,” was “literally tearful” when the ruling was made. “I hope the impact will be that it opened the legal doorway for all that choose to do so to follow me through,” Shupe tells the Daily Dot. “We don’t deserve to be classified improperly against our will.” While the ruling could be a step toward changing federal policy, the next step for Shupe is working with the DMV to get a driver’s license that specifies “non-binary.” New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, and other countries already officially recognize genders beyond male and female. “This is an important step toward ensuring that non-binary members of our community have access to identity documents that reflect who they are, just like everyone else,” the legal director of the Transgender Law Center tells the Daily Dot.