In what appears to be a first-of-its-kind ruling, an Oregon judge has sided with a petitioner who wanted to be able to choose neither gender as a sex and be ‘non-binary.’
It didn’t get much attention when it came down, but the judge’s decision could have an impact on the national conversation on civil rights and gender identity.
Ex-Army sergeant Jamie Shupe, who was born with male anatomy and underwent hormone treatments to transition to a woman, says it turned out that neither gender really fit. Jamie, who uses the pronouns ‘they’ and ‘their’ says they wanted to challenge that. She went to court with two notes from doctors both attesting that Jamie was neither male nor female.
Legal experts have said that as far as they know, this is the first ruling of its kind and could potentially have a bigger ripple effect on the larger debate about gender identity.
What do you think of ‘non-binary’ as a way of defining one’s gender (or lack thereof)? What are the legal implications of a decision like this? How will this affect the larger national conversation on gender identity and civil rights?
Hayley Gorenberg, deputy legal director at Lambda Legal
Matthew McReynolds, senior staff attorney at Pacific Justice Institute in Sacramento, which works to defend religious liberties and parental rights