Patrick Abbatiello is the first person in America to officially be designated as “genderless.” The Portland Community College student legally changed his name to “Patch.” In Multnomah County, Oregon, Amy Holmes Hehn granted the student’s petition to also allow a gender change from male to “agender.”
Patch now is officially and legally agender — meaning in the eyes of the law, the Portland student is no longer either a man or woman and has no gender identity at all.
“It’s not that I decided I was genderless — that’s just how it is. I never felt like I fell within any part of the gender spectrum. None of the binary options, nothing in-between,” Patch said. “I don’t consider myself non-binary because that’s an umbrella term for anything that isn’t binary, which is gender identity.”
Portland Student Becomes First Person To Be Designated ‘Genderless’ https://t.co/8kPlppt1HL
— Xoobug (@xoobug) March 27, 2017
Patrick Abbatiello, 27, was using the name Patch long before the Portland court made the moniker official, the Daily Mail reports. A friend reportedly levied the nickname more than 10 years ago. The student writes and designs video games and is the co-coordinator of the campus Queer Resource Center.
Until about seven years ago, when Patch, then Patrick Abbatiello, first heard the term “agender” the Portland student said he would do his best to avoid discussing the topic of his gender altogether, US News notes.
“As a kid, probably starting around age six, gender didn’t make sense to me,” Patch said during an interview, COED reports. “I was told ‘men were this, women were this.’ As a teen I learned about transgender people, and that didn’t seem like what I was. And then I learned about genderqueer, and that didn’t seem like what I was.”
The same Multnomah County judge permitted Jamie Shupe to legally change to a non-binary gender status last summer. The landmark decision may have led others in the United States to attempt to seek the same type of gender change via the court system.
It was Judge Amy Holmes Hehn’s 2016 ruling which prompted Patch, who doesn’t use pronouns, to try to be legally deemed agender. The request was submitted to the Portland court in late January and approved on March 10.
According to Patch, an Oregon county clerk was handing out name or gender change forms to individuals in the courthouse office. The Portland student was required to wait because the male-to-agender change was not typical. When the judge arrived, she looked over the form and simply signed it without asking any questions or even saying a single word, according to the person then known as Patrick Abbatiello.
Shock and backlash from those who believe gender and sex are intricately linked, as well as support from the LGBT community, quickly materialized on social media. Judge Hehn stated her decision to allow Abbatiello to change his gender from male to agender, was supported by both the facts and the law.
Some social media posters who voiced opposition to the genderless legal status claimed the judge’s decision was base purely upon liberal ideology and enabled individuals with “mental illness” to go on without treatment allegedly needed.
This is nothing more than liberal disregard of severe mental illness. https://t.co/6wGunyOx6G
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) March 26, 2017
“This is the first time that Sylvia Rivera Law Project has heard about this, and we applaud the court recognizing the person as they are. We hope that other government agencies will help people self-determine their gender identity, which also includes the option to identify without a gender,” attorney Kyle Rapiñan maintained.
Judge Hehn was appointed to the Multnomah County Circuit Court by Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber in January of 2013. She was re-elected in 2014. Her term expires in January of 2021, according to Ballotpedia. Hehn earned a bachelor’s degree from Willamette University and her law degree from Suffolk University College.
What do you think about a Portland judge allowing Patrick Abbatiello to change his name and his gender from male to genderless?
[Featured Image by Billy Burdette/Shutterstock]