An Oregon judge ruled Friday that 52-year-old Army veteran Jamie Shupe, who does not identify as male or female, can legally choose to be "non-binary" or 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.
Shupe who retired in 2000 as a sergeant first class in the Army, began transitioning in 2013 while living in Pittsburg. Shupe knew then that neither male nor female fit and now just prefers to be called the gender-neutral name Jamie, instead of a pronoun, according to Oregon Live.
"I was assigned male at birth due to biology," Shupe noted in that report. "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."
Portland attorney Lake James Perriguey filed Shupe's petition for a sex change on April 27, supported by two letters from Oregon Health & Science University as well as the Veterans Affairs hospital, stating that Shupe's gender should be classified as nonbinary.
Oregon law allows a court to change a person's legal sex if a judge determines the person has undergone surgical, hormonal or other treatment related to a gender transition. The law, however, does not require a note from a doctor, according to Oregon Live.
In Friday's ruling Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Amy Holmes Hehn said Jamie had satisfied the law for a sex change.
"The sexual reassignment has been completed," Hehn wrote in the ruling. "No person has shown cause why the requested General Judgment should not be granted."
Nancy Haque, a co-executive director for Basic Rights Oregon, celebrated Friday calling it 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," she said. "Some people don't identify as male or female."
Attorneys at the Transgender Law Center told The Daily Dot that the ruling was historic.
"As far as we know, this may be the first ruling of its kind in the U.S.," said Transgender Law Center's Legal Director Ilona Turner. "This is an important step toward ensuring that nonbinary members of our community have access to identity documents that reflect who they are, just like everyone else."
Mik Kinkead, a staff attorney at New York's Sylvia Rivera Law Project, also told The Daily Dot that the ruling was "wonderful news."
"To my knowledge, many cities and a few states have options where an ID card does not need to declare a gender (such as the NYC ID card or the NYS Benefits card) … but I have never heard of a system where someone's nonbinary gender is actually affirmed on the card itself."