Identity

A Veteran Won the Right to Legally Identify as Neither Male Nor Female

In a monumental decision, an Oregon judge said an army vet could be exactly who they want to be.
June 13, 2016, 7:30pm
Photo via Flickr user Mayor McGinn

Dealing with legal documents could get easier for Oregonians who don't identify as either male or female after Friday's historic court ruling allowing a US army veteran to legally change their gender to "nonbinary," as the New York Times reports.

Jamie Shupe, 52—who prefers the first name Jamie to any gender pronoun—challenged a Multnomah County circuit court after first transitioning from male to female at age 49, before ultimately deciding that neither gender really fit.

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Shupe came to court with letters from two different doctors stating that they were neither male nor female, but ultimately didn't need them, as Judge Amy Holmes Hehn ruled Shupe could identify as "nonbinary."

"A growing number of countries already recognize nonbinary genders, but as far as we know this is the first ruling of its kind in the US," Ilona Turner, legal director at the Transgender Law Center, told the Oregonian in a written statement. In some cities—New York being one of them—residents don't have to declare a traditional gender, but this ruling is a state-level boon to those hoping to more accurately identify themselves before the law.

While the decision hasn't led to major changes on legal documents so far, such as birth certificates or driver's licenses, Shupe told the Daily Dot that the next goal is to "tackle the DMV," which still only offers the choice of male or female in Oregon.

Shupe's attorney Lake Perriguey told the Portland Mercury that after filing the petition, he's spoken to the Oregon DMV about expanding its current gender identification options on state IDs.

Read: This Is What It's Like to Raise a Gender-Neutral Child