Nonbinary now a legally recognized gender in Oregon

© Michael Caronna
Oregon residents can now legally change their gender to “nonbinary,” according to a circuit court ruling. Nonbinary refers to individuals who identify with any gender identity, and The Beaver State is the first in the nation to recognize it.

An umbrella term for anyone who does not identify as just male or just female, nonbinary, for the first time in US history, is being legally recognized as a gender.

Everything was put in motion by Jamie Shupe, an Army vet who has been transitioning gender since 2013, the Daily Dot reported.

A petition filed by Shupe in late April included two letters from their doctors that state their gender should be nonbinary. Shupe, who prefers not to use gender pronouns, first petitioned to change their gender from male to female.

"I was assigned male at birth due to biology," Shupe explained to Oregon Live. "I'm stuck with that for life. My gender identity is definitely feminine. My gender identity has never been male, but I feel like I have to own up to my male biology. Being non-binary allows me to do that. I'm a mixture of both. I consider myself as a third sex."

"Male and female are the traditional categories, but they fail to properly categorize people like me. So I challenged that," Shupe told the Daily Dot.

The attorneys at the Transgender Law Center believe that this may be the first ruling of its kind in the US, Transgender Law Center's legal director, Ilona Turner, said in an email to the Dot.

Nancy Haque, a co-executive director for Basic Rights Oregon, told Oregon Live that while this was a “momentous day for genderqueer Oregonians,” it was not a total victory for nonbinary Oregonians.

Haque explained that nonbinary is still not an option for driver’s licenses or state-issued identification cards. She claims that some nonbinary individuals are denied medical services, because they do not have a conforming gender identity.

In all the ways our lives are gendered in ways they frankly don't have to be, it can be a barrier for people whose identities aren't easily put in a box," Haque said.