James Shupe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
James Shupe
Jamie Shupe Age 55.jpg
Shupe in 2018
Born (1963-08-10) August 10, 1963 (age 56)
Washington, D.C., United States
Military career
Allegiance United States
BranchUnited States Army
Service years1982–2000
RankSergeant First Class

James Clifford Shupe[2] (born 1963; formerly Jamie Shupe) is a retired United States Army soldier who in 2016 became the first person in the United States to obtain legal recognition of a non-binary gender. In 2019, he released a statement explaining that he had "returned to [his] male birth sex".[3] He has since become a vocal critic of the concept of gender identity.[3]


Born male, Shupe grew up in southern Maryland as one of eight children.[4] He and his wife, Sandy, were married in 1987;[5] they have one daughter.[4] He served in the U.S. Army for 18 years, receiving a number of military decorations, and retired in 2000 as a sergeant first class.[1]

Shupe has written that he was physically and sexually abused by relatives during childhood.[6] He recalls his mother punishing him for behaving like a "sissy",[5] and says that he was denied the right to explore his gender expression or gender identity.[1] That suppression continued through his military career, which included periods before and during Don't ask, don't tell.[4][1] After he retired, Shupe began living as a transgender woman in 2013. He chose the gender-neutral first name "Jamie" and convinced the Army to change his sex marker to female on military records.[7][8]

In June 2016, Shupe successfully petitioned a Multnomah County, Oregon, court to change his sex designation to non-binary, in the first legal recognition of a non-binary gender in the United States.[7][4] That November, he was issued a birth certificate in Washington, D.C., with a sex marker of "unknown".[8] Lambda Legal later cited Shupe's petition as a legal precedent for non-binary gender markers in the passport lawsuit Zzyym v. Pompeo.[9]

Shupe is a critic of transgender surgeries, cautioning against what he says are high complication rates.[10] He has also expressed opposition to transgender people serving in the military.[11]

In 2018 James and his wife moved to Ocala, Florida where James says he feels safe and in a community that aligns well with his values.[12] James keeps a low profile in his community, but still is an advocate against the use of hormones to treat gender dysphoria.[13]

In January 2019, Shupe announced that he no longer identified as non-binary and was returning to identifying as male. He said that his original motivation for transition was autogynephilia and that he was experiencing symptoms of psychosis when he sought a non-binary sex marker.[6][14] In March, he changed his first name back to James.[2]

In December of 2019, James successfully petitioned the court responsible for his "non-binary" gender designation to restore the sex listed on his birth certificate to "male." The petition filed by Shupe described the sex designation of "non-binary" as "psychologically harmful legal fiction."[15]


  1. ^ a b c d Miner, Colin (2016-06-12). "Military Veteran Says 'Jamie' is Neither Male Nor Female". Portland, OR Patch. Archived from the original on 2016-06-13. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  2. ^ a b Shupe, James (2019-03-25). "Jamie Shupe Name Change: Please Address Me As James Shupe Now". Website Of James Shupe (Formerly Jamie Shupe). Retrieved 2019-03-30.
  3. ^ a b Shupe, Jamie (26 January 2019). "Public Announcement: I Have Returned To My Male Birth Sex". Website Of Jamie Shupe.
  4. ^ a b c d Dake, Lauren (2016-06-16). "Jamie Shupe becomes first legally non-binary person in the US". the Guardian. Archived from the original on 2016-06-16. Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  5. ^ a b O'Hara, Mary Emily (2016-07-23). "Why can't the nation's first legally nonbinary person get an ID?". The Daily Dot. Archived from the original on 2016-07-26. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  6. ^ a b Shupe, Jamie (2019-03-10). "I Was America's First 'Nonbinary' Person. It Was All a Sham". The Daily Signal. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  7. ^ a b Mele, Christopher (2016-06-13). "Oregon Court Allows a Person to Choose Neither Sex". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2016-06-13. Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  8. ^ a b Woodstock, Molly (2017-03-10). "Male? Female? Jamie Shupe Battles for a Third Option". Portland Monthly. Retrieved 2019-03-17.
  9. ^ "Case: Zzyym v. Pompeo (formerly Zzyym v. Tillerson & Zzyym v. Kerry) Plaintiff's Reply Brief". Lambda Legal. 2016-06-15. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  10. ^ Dorman, Sam (2018-11-17). "Some Veterans Call for Taxpayer-Funded Gender Surgery — This Fmr Army Sergeant Tried Transitioning and Disagrees". IJR. Archived from the original on 2018-11-23. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  11. ^ Foden-Vencil, Kristian (2017-07-26). "Oregon's Transgender Population Reacts To Trump's Military Ban". Oregon Public Broadcasting. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  12. ^ O'Neil, Tyler. "Transgender Surgery Scars Are 'Beautiful,' Jazz Jennings' Mom Says". PJ Media. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  13. ^ Medina, Carlos. "Gender identity pioneer calls Ocala home". Ocala.com. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  14. ^ Bawer, Bruce (2019-02-13). "A Transgender Hero Breaks Ranks". pjmedia.com. Archived from the original on 2019-02-13. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  15. ^ O'Neil, Tyler. "First Trans Person to Obtain Legal 'Non-Binary' Sex Status Changes Back to Birth Sex in Blow to LGBT Movement". PJ Media. Retrieved 11 January 2020.