This story cropped up last week but got lost in the shuffle for obvious reasons over the weekend. A judge in Oregon has taken a bold step toward moving the goalposts in the whole “transgender” debate quite a bit further off the field and into another dimension. A former solider who was born a male but later “transitioned” to female wound up not being satisfied with either of those choices after having some time to consider them. Going before the court, she (?) petitioned to have yet another change on her official record. Now the citizen is question is officially entered into the records as none of the above. (Oregon Live)
An Oregon judge ruled Friday that a transgender person can legally change their sex to “non-binary” rather than male or female in what legal experts believe is a first in the United States.
Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Amy Holmes Hehn legally changed 52-year-old Jamie Shupe’s sex from “female” to non-binary.
Nancy Haque, a co-executive director for Basic Rights Oregon, called the ruling 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,” Haque said. “Some people don’t identify as male or female.”
There may not be enough Hendricks in the house to finish this article.
As usual, I maintain that I really don’t have a problem with what any consenting adult wants to call themselves, how they choose to dress or what legal procedures they have performed on their bodies, provided they’re willing to own the consequences. That doesn’t mean that you get to impose your decisions on the rest of us or invade someone else’s privacy, but as long as you’re not infringing on others, it’s a free country. Party on, pal.
So Jamie wants to call herself “non-binary” and a judge has agreed. (I’m granting the feminine pronoun as I usually do for those who go so far as to have surgery. You’re still technically a male unless you figured out a way to restructure your 23rd chromosomal pair, but if you’re willing to demonstrate the amount of dedication it takes to get your bits lopped off, I’ll play along. I also recognize legal name changes for anyone who cares to go to court and do so.) Why should this case be a problem?
I’m not entirely sure if it is problematic, honestly. The only possible cases I can think of where it might become an issue is for law enforcement and security. We do rely on accurate descriptions of people when the police are in search of suspects and when you go through security checkpoints the officials are supposed to be able to figure out if they have the right person. Will your photograph on your ID and passport match what you look like now? I suppose if the name and the picture match the person being observed it’s not really an issue. Am I missing something here?
The only other instances which come to mind are really rare ones such as the question of professional or Olympic level competitive sports. Should Jamie have been allowed to compete on the women’s sports teams post-transition? We’ve run into issues on that front already, such as the case where an Alaskan boy entered as a “transgender girl” won some state level awards in track and field and the families of the actual girls were upset. If we take that to the professional level things could get completely out of hand. (Jimmer Fredette may not get as many headlines as Carmelo Anthony, but if he left the Knicks to play in the WNBA he’d probably destroy the entire field of competitors with one hand.)
So if Jamie wanted to embark on a new career in professional sports, which league would a “non-binary” competitor play in? I don’t have a guess. But as I said, that’s such a rare situation in our society that it doesn’t seem to be a sticking point.