27-year-old becomes first known legally agender person in the US
A person from Oregon has, by all accounts, become the first legally agender person in the US.
Patch, a 27-year-old video game designer, also won the right to become mononymous – that is, to be known by a first name alone, with no surname.
The Multnomah County Court granted Patch a “General Judgment of Name and Sex Change” on March 10th.
Gender identity is widely regarded as a spectrum, but some – Patch included – do not sit on the spectrum, and instead have no gender at all.
“As a kid, probably starting around age six, gender didn’t make sense to me,” Patch told NBC News.
“I was told ‘men were this, women were this.’ As a teen I learned about transgender people, and that didn’t seem like what I was.
“And then I learned about genderqueer, and that didn’t seem like what I was.”
Patch also doesn’t use pronouns, explaining: “Even gender-neutral pronouns don’t feel as if they fit me. I feel no identity or closeness with any pronouns I’ve come across.
“What describes me is my name.”
Patch still faces obstacles in everyday life, however, such as official papers which assume a gender binary with M and F boxes, or which have a finite number of options.
“Having a blank field still allows other genders to exist,” said Patch, adding that “you should let people opt-in to that. Forcing it is weird.”
Patch is uncomfortable with the fact that gender is still a fundamental part of every basic form people fill out, but accepted that such a radical shift will take time.
“I think it’s creepy that society wants to track such personal information about everybody.
“Why does it matter? But we do exist in that system, and since we do, we can’t just scrap it all,” Patch said.
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Kyle Rapiñan is an attorney for legal aid organisation Sylvia Rivera Law Project, which works to ensure people are free to self-determine gender identity and expression.
Rapiñan said it was “the first time” the group had heard of this happening, adding: “We applaud the court recognising the person as they are.
“We hope that other government agencies will help people self-determine their gender identity, which also includes the option to identify without a gender.”
Judge Amy Holmes Hehn, who made the ruling, also presided over the first American to legally become non-binary last year.
In May, she granted another Portland resident, Jamie Shupe, the ability to legally change from female to non-binary – prompting dozens of others across the US to seek the same classification.
Judge Holmes Hehn told NBC News: “I made these decisions, like all decisions, because they were supported by facts and law, and out of respect for the dignity of the people who came before me.”