Norrie May-Welby (born 23 May 1961[1]), also known as norrie mAy-Welby,[2] is a Scottish-Australian who became the first person in the world officially declared to be neither a man nor a woman,[3][4][5][6] making Australia the first country in the world to recognise a 'non-specified' gender.[2][7]


Norrie was born in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland as a male and moved to Perth, Western Australia[8] at the age of seven. Norrie underwent male-to-female reassignment surgery on 3 April 1989,[8] but later found that being a woman was not what zie felt like either.[4][5][9] Welby moved to Sydney, New South Wales in the early 1990s, after a highly publicized court case in Perth.[10] Doctors stated, in January 2010, that Norrie was a neuter, neither male nor female, as hir psychological self-image was as a neuter, their hormones were not the same as a male or female's, and had no sex organs.[2]

One of Norrie's worries about being labeled male or female is that they now look like neither and is physically neither as well. Because of this, if Norrie's passport states gender as being one or the other, it is possible that Norrie might be detained for not fitting what the gender field says they should look like. This was one of Norrie's reasons for seeking recognition as gender-neutral.[6]

Australian Ruling on Gender

The New South Wales Government recognised Norrie as being neither male or female - as hormonally, psychologically and physically zie was neither male or female. Norrie is now referred to as "zie" (rather than she/he) and "hir" (rather than her/his), This comes three years after Australia's foreign minister, Alexander Downer, had secretly and without consultation reversed a policy whereby trans people could obtain a passport stating their "intended sex."[11]

However, the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages rescinded its promise to supply Norrie with a registered details certificate that had "sex not specified" written in the gender box. Norrie had originally received the certificate the day before Mardi Gras, but then received a phone call from a representative of the agency that said it would be canceled. Norrie received a formal letter of cancellation on March 17th. In response, Norrie filed a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission and has claimed to the media to be "devastated with the news".[12]

Because Norrie is a member of the Sex and Gender Education (SAGE), which is a lobby group that supports and campaigns for the gender diverse, the group has pledged to give its full support in trying to help Norrie reclaim their certificate.[2][13]


External links

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