Oregon Man First Legal ‘Gender Binary’

News: Life and Family
by Church Militant  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  June 22, 2016   

Jamie Schupe claims he is neither male nor female

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PORTLAND, Ore. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A circuit court judge has ruled an Oregon man can legally identify as "gender binary."

Following a decision passed down by the Multnomah County judge, 52-year-old Jamie Shupe has become the first individual in the country to attain the legal classification of being neither male nor female. "I have my life back," Shupe stated after the court ruling last week. "I'm not a male. I'm not a female."

The decision is being lauded by gay activist organizations, who argue "classic gender markers don't fit everybody," and the court decision will serve to help people "exist without labels that don't accurately describe them."

Shupe, who refers to himself by the pronoun "they," called the ruling the "greatest victory of [his] life."

Shupe with his wife

"People were literally in tears," Shupe said of the court ruling. "There are so many people like me who felt like society doesn't understand them and I just gave them a legal identity."

"[The ruling] is accurately defining who I am," he continued. "I've never had a male identity and it was not appropriate to class me as a female either. ... The judge made me whole when they did this."

A former sergeant with the U.S. Army, Shupe initially claimed he was transgendered, and began pretending to be a woman, despite being married and rearing a daughter. "I figured I was a transgender woman. My thinking was, well, I'm not a male," he maintains.

Shupe reveals his wife allowed him "to have a boyfriend and explore [his] sexuality" while immersing himself in the LGBT community.

However, after a brief period identifying as female and dating men, Shupe came to the conclusion "no amount of hormones" would make him a female.

"Now, I'm suddenly telling my spouse I'm the same thing she is?" he remarked. "It didn't make sense to me. I didn't have the intricate knowledge like I do now that I could be other things."

Shupe then sought out a third option, eventually hiring on a Portland lawyer to argue his case for legal recognition as "gender binary."

The decision came June 10, with circuit court judge Amy Holmes Hehn writing, "The sex of Jamie Shupe is hereby changed from female to non-binary."

Although Shupe has described the court ruling as having made him "whole," he quickly announced his new crusade to attain an Oregon driver's license acknowledging his "non-binary" status. "I want to be issued a state identification," he declared. "That will validate the judge's court ruling and further validate my identity for me. It is very important to me and they are receptive to doing that for me."

The Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) admits it was "blindsided" by the request, but maintains it will work to accommodate Shupe. "At this point, we can't fulfill (the) request," a DMV spokesperson said. "But we are studying it to figure out what computer system changes and statutory changes might need to be made."

"Gender binary" is one of dozens of gender identities recognized by multiple local governments, with New York City recently releasing a list of 31 protected genders, including "drag-king," "gender bender," "two-spirit," "non-binary transgender," "third sex" and "gender fluid."


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