The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Eugene resident Jones Hollister’s right to a nonbinary gender marker. Hollister’s gender is nonbinary, but their petition for a nonbinary gender marker was denied by Lane County Circuit Court Judge Charles D. Carlson in 2019.
“I am so thrilled. I'm thrilled for not just myself but for all nonbinary Oregonians.” Hollister said. “When I saw that the Court of Appeals had reversed the decision to refuse me a nonbinary marker, I honestly cried. Until this morning I haven't allowed myself to hope that we would win, This ruling does not make me nonbinary. I was nonbinary long before this case. But this ruling means that I will have court paperwork confirming my identity. They can’t just change the administrative rules and take away my legal status as nonbinary. It is legally affirmed”.
Nonbinary is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity falls outside the binary gender categories of male and female. A nonbinary person may define their gender as falling somewhere in between male and female, or they may define it as wholly different from these terms. A nonbinary person may or may not describe themselves using the word transgender.
Hollister’s attorney, Lorena Reynolds, Managing Attorney at The Reynolds Law Firm in Corvallis, said that the ruling is an example of how Oregon is leading the way in supporting nonbinary communities.
“This state has been a leader in recognizing and supporting transgender and nonbinary Oregonians and this case is an affirmation of our collective commitment to changing the historic ways in which nonbinary people have been marginalized in our communities," Reynolds said. "While legal protections are being stripped away at the national level, I am proud we are taking a different approach here, an approach where we recognize that real lives are impacted in real ways by bureaucratic decisions such as this one and that we don’t have to continue to do things the way they have always been done once we know that those systems are harming people. At any point in time, we can choose to do better.”
The Oregon Department of Justice, Basic Rights Oregon, the ACLU of Oregon, Transgender Law Center, InterACT, Beyond Binary Legal, and a group of Oregon law professors filed briefs in support of Hollister’s appeal.
Attorneys for the ACLU of Oregon and Basic Rights Oregon include Sara Kobak and Jessica Schuh of Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt PC and Kelly Simon of the ACLU of Oregon. Attorneys for the Transgender Law Center, Beyond Binary Legal, and InterACT include John Clarke and Bruce Campbell of Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP. Caitlin v. Mitchell and Sarah Adams-Schoen, assistant professor at the University of Oregon School of Law, submitted a brief on behalf of 26 law professors from Oregon’s three law schools.
Read the full press release