On March 10, Judge Amy Holmes Hehn in Oregon granted the request of a Portland resident, Patch, to legally become genderless.
Patch is a 27-year old video game designer and now, according to NBC News, is “likely the first legally agender person in the United States.”
“As a kid, probably starting around age 6, gender didn’t make sense to me,” Patch explained. “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.”
The Multnomah County Court ruled Patch a “General Judgment of Name and Sex Change” earlier this month. Patch changed names and became mononymous, when someone goes by just one name instead of a first and last name.
“We applaud the court recognizing the person as they are,” said attorney Kyle Rapiñan. “We hope that other government agencies will help people self-determine their gender identity, which also includes the option to identify without a gender.”
Patch doesn’t use pronouns like he or she or even they. “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,” Patch said. “What describes me is my name.”
Holmes Hehn was the same judge who last year ruled that another Portland resident, Jamie Shupe, could legally change from female to non-binary—sparking a debate about a third gender.
“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,” Holmes Hehn told NBC News.
After Holmes Hehn’s ruling last year, multiple agencies across Oregon, including the Department of Motor Vehicles, started including a third-gender option on their forms and documents.