A Portland resident was granted "agender" status by an Oregon judge earlier this month, in what is likely the first-such decision of its kind.
Patch, the person's mononym, is believed to be the first ever to be legally considered agender—that is, gender neutral, or without gender identity—in the United States. According to the Associated Press, Patch was born Patrick Abbatiello, and was granted agender status by Judge Amy Holmes Hehn on March 10. Judge Hehn's decision also accommodated Patch's genderless name change.
"As a kid, probably starting around age 6, gender didn't make sense to me," Patch explained to NBC News. "I was told 'men were this, women were this.' As a teen I learned about transgender people, and that didn't seem like what I was. And then I learned about genderqueer, and that didn't seem like what I was."
Judge Hehn is herself no stranger to wading into the sometimes tricky legal waters of gender identity. In 2016, Hehn ruled that trans person Jamie Shupe, a former army sergeant, had the right to identify as "non-binary." The decision, like Patch's, was likely the first of its kind, and was seen as a major milestone in the fight for equal rights across—and beyond—genders.
Eschewing both "him" and "her," Patch explained to NBC, "I feel no identity or closeness with any pronouns I've come across. What describes me is my name."