An Oregon judge ruled Friday that a transgender person can legally change their sex to “non-binary” rather than male or female in what legal experts believe is a first in the United States. Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Amy Holmes Hehn legally changed 52-year-old Jamie Shupe’s sex from “female” to non-binary. Nancy Haque, a co-executive director for Basic Rights Oregon, called the ruling a “momentous day for genderqueer Oregonians.”

“It’s really exciting for the courts to actually recognize what we know to be true: gender is a spectrum,” Haque said. “Some people don’t identify as male or female.” Shupe, an Army veteran who retired in 2000 a sergeant first class, began transitioning in 2013 while living in Pittsburg. Shupe knew then that neither male nor female fit. Shupe chose “Jamie” as a new first name primarily because it is a gender-neutral name. Shupe prefers to be called “Jamie,” rather than by a pronoun. CONTINUE