Norrie May-Welby

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Norrie May-Welby
Born Bruce Norrie Watson
(1961-05-23) 23 May 1961 (age 54)
Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Residence Erskineville, New South Wales, Australia
Nationality Australian
Other names norrie mAy-Welby[1] [sic]
Occupation Author
Known for Legal action to recognise non-specific gender

Norrie May-Welby (born Bruce Norrie Watson, 23 May 1961[2]) is a Scottish-Australian transsexual person who pursued the legal status of being neither a man nor a woman, between 2010 and 2014.[3][4][5][6][7] The High Court of Australia ruled in April 2014 that it was in the power of the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages to record in the register that the sex of May-Welby was 'non-specific'.

At least two other Australians - both born intersex and including Alex MacFarlane - are known to have birth certificates and/or passports showing an indeterminate or unspecified sex as early as 2003.[8][9][10]


May-Welby was born in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland and identified as male at birth. May-Welby moved to Perth, Western Australia[11] at the age of seven. May-Welby underwent male-to-female reassignment surgery on 3 April 1989,[11] but later found that being a woman was not what May-Welby felt like either.[4][5][12]

In 1990, Norrie took the drug LSD which she claims influenced her to be 'genderless'.[citation needed]

May-Welby moved to Sydney, New South Wales in the early 1990s, after a highly publicised court case in Perth.[13] Doctors stated, in January 2010, that May-Welby was a neuter, with a self-image that was neither male nor female, and no sex organs.[1]

NSW Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages v Norrie[edit]

The New South Wales Government Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages initially recognized May-Welby as being neither male nor female with a registered details certificate stating "not specified" in 2010. However, the Registry rescinded its decision in a formal letter of cancellation on 17 March 2010. In response, May-Welby filed a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission and to the Court of Appeal.[14] The Court of Appeal ruled in favour of May-Welby but the Registrar appealed to the High Court. In April 2014 the High Court ruled that it was within the Registrar's power to record in the register that the sex of May-Welby was 'not specific'. The Court found that sex affirmation "surgery did not resolve her sexual ambiguity".[15] In commenting on the four-year battle, May-Welby stated "It was swings and roundabouts, but I’m on Wikipedia now".[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Sex not specified: Australia leads the way with legal document", The Scavenger. 8 March 2010
  2. ^ Scholfield, Sy (31 October 2010). "norrie mAy-welby: Astrology chart". Horoscope Profile. Norrie May-Welby: 11.01am on 23rd May 1961 at Paisley. At least, that's what the minute part of the time appeared to be to me [on the birth record]. 
  3. ^ "I’m not a man... or a woman". Scottish Sun. 15 March 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "No sex for me, please! Ex-transsexual Australian Norrie May-Welby is first legally genderless person", New York Daily News. 16 March 2010.
  5. ^ a b "Briton is recognised as world's first officially genderless person", The Telegraph. 15 Mar 2010.
  6. ^ "Norrie May-Welby: The World's First Legally Genderless Person", The Huffington Post. 18 March 2010.
  7. ^ "Norrie May-Welby's battle to regain status as the world's first legally genderless person", Daily Life Australia. 8 November 2013
  8. ^ "X marks the spot for intersex Alex", The West Australian, via 11 January 2003
  9. ^ "Ingrid Holme, "Hearing People's Own Stories", in Science as Culture, Volume 17, Issue 3, 2008"
  10. ^ "OII VP Tony Briffa to wed partner in NZ ceremony - Gay News Network", Gay News Network, 27 September 2013
  11. ^ a b "Norrie, Senza Sesso' ('Norrie, Without Sex')", Leggo Online. 18 Marzo 2010.
  12. ^ "Gender Bender laps up zer attention!", Paisley Daily Express. 18 March 2010.
  13. ^ 'Audience Show and Tell' - ABC1 Enough Rope, 11 August 2003
  14. ^ "Norrie backflip 'a breach of rights'" - Sydney Star Observer
  15. ^ NSW Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages v Norrie, 2014 High Court of Australia 11, 11 (High Court of Australia 2 April 2014).
  16. ^ Davidson, Helen (2 April 2014). "Third gender must be recognised by NSW after Norrie wins legal battle". Retrieved 2 April 2014. 


  • O'Keefe, Tracie and Fox, Katrina (eds.) (2003) Finding the Real Me: true tales of sex and gender diversity San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. ISBN 0787965472

External links[edit]