Australia’s highest court recognised on Wednesday a third category of sex other than male or female.
The case was brought by Norrie May-Welby, who identifies as neuter, and had fought for years to have an option other than male or female on official records, preferring the term “non-specific.” The Australian registrar of births, deaths and marriages argued in court that the law only allows the choice of male or female on official forms.
The High Court disagreed, reaching a unanimous decision that the law does recognise a person may be neither male nor female.
Norrie told The Australian newspaper the ruling was an exciting victory, and that people “should be recognised as whatever they are and be allowed to participate in society at an equal level.” “Why should people be left out because they are seen as not male or female?” Norrie was born male in Scotland and moved to Australia aged seven.
After a sex change operation Norrie didn’t feel like a woman, and had further surgery to have no gender.
The ruling only applies to what a person can put on their official certificate for births, deaths and marriages.
Eleven years ago Australia issued the first passport to a person of indeterminate sex with just an X marked in the gender column.