PORTLAND, Ore. — A federal judge in Oregon has ruled that a man can be considered non-binary—neither male nor female.
Jamie Shupe was born male, served in the military and married a woman. But in 2013, as he found himself struggling with his gender identity, Shupe decided to seek treatments that would make him look and feel feminine.
“I figured I was a transgender woman. My thinking was, well, I’m not a male,” Shupe told reporters. “I was in a deep, dark depression because I had boxed myself into this male identity that I couldn’t stand anymore.”
But after taking hormonal treatments and wearing women’s clothing, Shupe still wasn’t satisfied. It didn’t feel right trying to live as a female.
“Now, I’m suddenly telling my spouse I’m the same thing she is? It didn’t make sense to me,” Shupe told The Guardian. “No amount of hormones is going to make me look like a female.”
He also had no intention of having a sex change operation. So, he decided to be neither.
“I was assigned male at birth due to biology. 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,” Shupe told the Oregonian. “Being non-binary allows me to do that. I’m a mixture of both. I consider myself as a third sex.”
This past April, Shupe applied with his local Department of Motor Vehicles to be listed as non-binary, but his request was denied. Therefore, he filed a lawsuit over the matter, and won.
“The sex of Jamie Shupe is hereby changed from female to non-binary,” wrote Judge Amy Holmes Hehn in her June 10 decision. “Notice of this legal change shall be posted in a public place in Multnomah County as required by law.”
Her ruling is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation.
DMV spokesman David House told NPR on Friday that the department will likely make changes to its driver’s license forms as a result, but is not sure exactly how at this time.
“Is it a third box? Or will it require multiple boxes?” he stated. “We just don’t know the answer to those questions; we’re going to need to study that.”
But some have found the situation to be bizarre.
“The courts can call this whatever they want, but human biology is not changed or impacted in any way by some arbitrary designation. A person’s inability to either identify as a man or woman is not an issue for the courts. It is an identity issue that obviously requires psychiatric intervention, for the judge as well,” one commenter wrote. “What is next … canine binary … aquatic binary? Enough. There are men; there are women. Change to either, but this non-gender is complete and total made-up nonsense.”
“*Puts finishing touches on new bathroom signs, ‘Ladies and Gents’* Rats. Now I have to start all over again,” a second remarked in sarcasm.
“Jamie, you were born a male and will die a male,” another commenter opined. “You’re a man with a mental illness.”