Army veteran legally not male or female, judge rules

Jamie Shupe of Oregon is now legally recognized as having nonbinary gender.

Story highlights

  • "It feels amazing to be free from a binary sex classification," Oregon resident says
  • Legal experts believe it is the state's first such ruling

(CNN)Army veteran Jamie Shupe, who identifies as neither male nor female, can legally be considered nonbinary, a judge ruled.

In what legal experts believe is Oregon's first such ruling, Judge Amy Holmes Hehn said Friday that the Portland resident's sex has been changed from female to nonbinary.
    "It feels amazing to be free from a binary sex classification system that inadequately addressed who I really am, a system in which I felt confined," Shupe said.
    Shupe was assigned the gender of male at birth, but started transitioning to a female in 2013, more than a decade after retiring from the military as a sergeant first class, Shupe said.
    Shupe, who lived in Pittsburgh at the time, said transitioning to a female was the only option available then.

    Shupe: Titles did not fit

    But Shupe said male or female titles didn't seem fitting, and preferred to use the first name, Jamie, instead of a pronoun. In April, Shupe filed a petition for a gender change.
    "Oregon law has allowed for people to petition a court for a gender change for years, but the law doesn't specify that it has to be either male or female," said civil rights attorney Lake J. Perriguey, who filed the petition.
    "The law just says, 'change.' Historically, people have asked for a gender change from male to female and the other way around, but Jamie is the first to ask for the gender of "nonbinary," Perriguey said.
    The lawyer said the standard form provided by the court clerk listed only male or female as options, so Perriguey inserted "nonbinary."
    Their wish was granted Friday.
    The judge said she has determined Shupe underwent surgical, hormonal or other treatment for the purpose of gender transition.
    "The sexual reassignment has been completed," Hehn wrote in the ruling. "No person has shown cause why the requested general judgment should not be granted."