'Non-Binary' Is Now a Legal Gender in Oregon

'I'm a mixture of both; I consider myself as a third sex'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2016 3:55 PM CDT

(Newser) – 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 the Oregonian, the 52-year-old Army veteran was assigned the male gender at birth but never felt that fit. Neither did female, though Shupe began transitioning in 2013. "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 if they can provide proof of treatment in connection with a transition, but doesn't specify gender 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 in favor of just being called Jamie, was "literally tearful" when the ruling was made. "I hope the impact will be that it opened the legal doorway" for others, 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." Nepal, Australia, Denmark, and other countries already officially acknowledge non-binary genders; Germany now offers this option at birth. (Read more gender stories.)

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