In a decision legal experts describe as a first in the United States, a transgender person in Oregon just won the right to choose "non-binary" as their gender rather than male or female. The ruling sets a national precedent that could challenge state and federal policies.
Retired U.S. Army Sergeant Jamie Shupe filed a petition with an Oregon circuit court in April requesting that they be allowed to identify as non-binary because they don't identify as either male or female (Shupe goes by the pronouns "they/them"). Shupe originally changed their gender from male to female before the petition to change to non-binary. They went to the court with supporting letters from two doctors, The New York Times reported.
"I was assigned male at birth due to biology," Shupe told The Oregonian. "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."
Here's the ruling—just two paragraphs—from Shupe's lawyer's blog:
The Oregon court's decision could give trans people who identify as non-binary a platform to argue for their right to identification documents that recognize their gender identity. Shupe's victory is a significant win for trans rights as discriminatory bathroom laws in North Carolina, and anti-trans sentiment in other states like Texas, take hold.
"As far as we know, this may be the first ruling of its kind in the U.S.," the Transgender Law Center's Legal Director Ilona Turner told The Daily Dot. "This is an important step toward ensuring that nonbinary members of our community have access to identity documents that reflect who they are, just like everyone else."