A judge from Multnomah County Circuit Court [official website] in Oregon ruled [text, PDF] on Friday that an individual’s gender could be legally changed from from female to non-binary. This ruling legally recognizing a third gender option is the first of its kind in the United States. Army veteran Jamie Shupe petitioned the court [Oregonian report] for this change because the binary distinctions of male and female did not reflect Jamie’s correct gender identity. Under Oregon law, a court can change a person’s legal sex if the judge determines that the individual has undertaken some treatment related to gender transitioning, but no doctor’s note is required.
Gender identity and expression are at the center of an international legal conversation about the rights and protections afforded to LGBT individuals. In June a US magistrate judge issued an order requiring [JURIST report] California prisons to provide transgender inmates who identify as female access to female-oriented items in women’s correctional facilities. Also in June Bleu Copas and Caleb Laieski filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in the Chancery Court for Anderson County, challenging [JURIST report] a Tennessee law that protects counselors who refuse to provide services to individuals based on their religious beliefs. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau [official website] introduced legislation in May that would ban [JURIST report] transgender discrimination, including it within Canada’s hate crime laws.