This month, the first person to obtain a legal “non-binary” sex designation has successfully petitioned the court originally responsible for his “non-binary” status to order that the sex on his birth certificate be restored to “male.” In documents exclusively provided to PJ Media, James Shupe’s petition described his “non-binary” designation as a “psychologically harmful legal fiction.” He told PJ Media he hopes this decision will prevent a woman currently seeking “non-binary” recognition from following the same lies.
“The charade of not being male, the legal fiction, it’s over,” James Shupe told PJ Media on Tuesday. “The lies behind my fictitious sex changes, something I shamefully participated in, first to female, and then to non-binary, have been forever exposed. A truthful accounting of events has replaced the deceit that allowed me to become America’s first legally non-binary person.”
“The legal record has now been corrected and LGBT advocates are no longer able to use my historic non-binary court order to advance their toxic agenda,” he added. “I am and have always been male. That is my biological truth, the only thing capable of grounding me to reality.”
While he became a hero for the transgender movement, Shupe now aims to dispel the lies of gender identity and reverse the harm caused by the precedent of his “non-binary” legal designation.
He referenced the case of Jones David Hollister, a woman who identifies as non-binary and is currently fighting to change her legal designation to non-binary. Hollister’s brief to the Oregon Court of Appeals cites Shupe’s case.
“I hope that Hollister and all the others are denied the right to change their sex to non-binary because it’s fraud and legal fiction based on pseudoscience,” Shupe said. “I was indoctrinated to believe that I had this thing called a gender identity and that suppressing it was causing my mental health problems. It was all a lie.”
He said he had embraced the lie of transgender identity as a crutch while struggling with deep psychological issues that would have been better addressed by therapy.
“I ended up in the psych ward three times because of hormones. I had blood clots in my eyes because my estrogen levels were 2,585 instead of 200, low bone density, problems controlling my bladder, and emotional instability,” Shupe said. “Blood tests indicated I was dropping into kidney disease territory (EFGR below 60) for about 18 months, I had chronic dermatology issues and skin reactions to estrogen patches, I passed out on the kitchen floor from Spironolactone.”
High-strength marijuana he purchased as he was passing through Colorado gave him hallucinations.
“The gender transitions were supposed to fix my mental health problems, but I kept getting worse instead. The high-powered marijuana made me psychotic. I started hearing booming noises and having visions of being some Indian woman,” he recalled. “I started believing I was some kind of chosen one who was picked to restore the third gender to North America, that’s what I thought the visions were telling me.”
Shupe went public about his detransition in an interview with PJ Media’s Bruce Bawer earlier this year after he asked for his official Florida documents to restore his legal sex to male.
Born in 1963 in Washington, D.C., Shupe spent eighteen years (1982-2000) in the U.S. Army. He has been married to his wife, Sandy, for three decades, and had a daughter with her. In 2013 he began identifying as a transgender woman, claiming that he had struggled for years and that he had been harassed in the military because he was perceived as gay. He lived in Pittsburgh for a year, took experimental hormones, and changed his name — but he stopped short of a surgical sex change. In November 2014, he moved to Portland, Oregon, which he found more hospitable for a transgender woman. He lived there until September 2017.
The New York Times published a profile on him in 2015, but only a year later, he rejected his female identity for a new one. In June 2016, Multnomah County Judge Amy Holmes Hehn issued a court order to change his sex from female to non-binary.
He wanted his Washington, D.C., birth certificate to reflect this gender identity, and that required a court order. With the stroke of a pen, Shupe became the first person in the U.S. to be legally recognized as “non-binary.” The sex on his birth certificate was changed to “X,” meaning indeterminate. This made him a hero in the LGBT community.
USA Today reported that Shupe’s “three years of living like a woman were nearly as painful as those spent as a man.” Presenting himself as a transgender woman, he had felt pressured “to maintain a hyper-feminine appearance 24-7,” or he would find himself “getting called sir.”
Shupe began to struggle with the concept of gender identity as something other than biological sex. Explaining the non-binary identity, he told Oregon Live, “I was assigned male at birth due to biology. I’m stuck with that for life. My gender identity is definitely feminine. My gender identity has never been male, but I feel like I have to own up to my male biology. Being non-binary allows me to do that. I’m a mixture of both. I consider myself as a third sex.”
Yet he began to question the damage the transgender movement has caused in society. In July 2017, he worried about “the future of transgender children,” arguing that they need “societal change,” not “surgical procedures,” “cross-sex hormones,” or sterilization. He supported a bathroom-privacy ballot initiative, and Lambda Legal dropped him as a client.
In just a manner of months, Shupe went from supporting transgender military service to defending Trump’s requirement that servicemembers live according to their biological sex.
Suddenly, the media was no longer interested in his opinions. “Not a single Oregon media outlet has been willing to talk to me, let alone report that I’ve reclaimed my birth sex and have denounced gender ideology,” he told PJ Media on Monday. “They dropped me after I supported Trump’s ban on gender dysphoria in the military. That got me canceled.”
This year, he took the final step. “In January 2019, I walked into the DMV and confronted a clerk with my U.S. passport, telling her ‘look, I’m a male, I’m reclaiming my male birth sex, and I want a driver’s license with ‘male’ instead of ‘female,” ” he recalled.
This change would only work in Florida, where Shupe still has an ongoing case to change his name back to “James Clifford Shupe,” rather than “Jamie Shupe.” After this change, Lambda Legal dropped all mentions of Shupe from their briefs in the case Zzyym v. Pompeo, which involves an intersex client who was denied a U.S. passport.
In the spring of 2019, he asked the Social Security Administration to restore his male birth sex. “Social Security refused to accept a doctor’s letter stating I was biologically male. They forced me to use their template, claiming I had undergone a gender transition to male,” he recalled.
While Florida granted his request to return to “male” on his driver’s license, this change “wouldn’t override the Oregon court order that made my sex non-binary and was getting used by the LGBT advocates to advance other cases, so we had to go back to Oregon.”
On December 11, Shupe petitioned the Multnomah County Court for the order to restore his male designation.
“The purpose of my request is to restore the original male sex designation that I was correctly observed to be at birth and to restore the precious name given to me at birth by my parents. I was not born in Oregon, and I have a Florida case pending to restore my name to JAMES CLIFFORD SHUPE,” he wrote in the petition. “I am no longer pursuing surgical, hormonal or other treatment to affirm a non-binary identity, and I wish to reclaim my male birth sex.”
“Despite six years of hormonal treatments, my sex was immutable, and I remained the same biological male I was at the time of my birth. In hindsight, my sex change to non-binary was a psychologically harmful legal fiction, and I desire to reclaim my male birth sex,” he added. “Despite my documented history of severe mental illness, my birth certificate has been changed twice previously. … Since receiving the 2016 non-binary court judgment in this case, I have been correctly diagnosed with a ‘sexual paraphilia’ by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the root cause of previous confusion about my sexual identity.”
Even getting that diagnosis proved to be a battle for Shupe.
“I then began confronting the VA about rubber-stamping me with gender dysphoria when in fact I had sexual paraphilias, a transvestic disorder with autogynephilia and masochism. The psychologist at the VA who had diagnosed me with gender dysphoria then dumped me as a patient when I asked for the diagnosis to be changed. The VA finally gave me the paraphilia diagnosis in April 2019, the endocrinologist did it,” he recalled. “The VA then outsourced me to the civilian sector to a therapist unqualified to treat me, the only one willing to take me as a patient.”
VA doctors were all too happy to diagnose gender dysphoria, but they mostly refused to consider sexual paraphilias, which Ph.D. psychologist Ray Blanchard says is the real cause.
Shupe told PJ Media he later realized the judge who granted his “non-binary” court order had harmed him.
“The Oregon judge physically and mentally harmed me by silently rubber-stamping the non-binary court order to advance a transgender agenda, to which she has ties,” he said. Before the proceeding, Shupe’s lawyer told him not to worry because the judge herself had a transgender kid.
Although Shupe brought doctors’ letters testifying to his identity, the judge did not even ask to look at them. “She was negligent in her duties as a judge to not explore my mental health and motivations as to why I was seeking the sex change. If she had of done so, she would have uncovered my severe mental health issues, the sexual paraphilias, and the fact that the doctors’ letters were written after a discussion with the two of them that my sex change to female was a failure and becoming non-binary was bailing all of us out,” he recalled.
The judge even got scared afterward, according to Shupe.
He also claimed the doctors who approved his change from female to non-binary abused him. “Why didn’t they force me to go to mental health for an evaluation about why I felt the sex change was a failure instead of giving me yet another one?” he asked. One doctor even gave him psychotropic drugs. “I stayed doped up to cope with my life as a fake woman.”
It has taken tremendous courage for Shupe to come forward with his story. His non-binary status made him a hero in the LGBT community, and he could have remained quiet about his detransition.
“It’s an incredibly painful thing to walk back a landmark court decision that made you internationally famous and admit the whole thing was based on lies and deceit,” he told PJ Media. Yet he felt compelled to speak out and warn against these destructive lies.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.