Norrie May-Welby

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Norrie May-Welby.jpg
Other namesNorrie May-Welby, stylized as norrie mAy-Welby [1]
Occupation Social activist, political cartoonist [2]
Known forLegal action to recognise non-specific gender

Norrie, also known by the pseudonym Norrie May-Welby, [lower-alpha 1] is a Scottish-Australian transgender person who pursued the legal status of being neither a man nor a woman, between 2010 and 2014. [3] [4] [5] [6] The High Court of Australia ruled in April 2014 that it was in the power of the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages to record in the register that the sex of Norrie was 'non-specific'.



Norrie was born in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland and was assigned male at birth. Norrie moved to Perth, Western Australia [7] at the age of seven. Norrie underwent gender reassignment surgery on 3 April 1989, [7] but later found that being a woman was not what Norrie felt like either. [3] [4] [8]

Norrie moved to Sydney, New South Wales in the early 1990s, after a highly publicised court case in Perth. [9] Doctors stated, in January 2010, that Norrie was a neuter, with a self-image that was neither male nor female, and no sex organs. [1]

Norrie prefers the term androgynous and does not mind being referred to as she or her but also likes the pronouns "xie" and "hir." [10]

In 2019 Norrie published the autobiographical book "Ultrasex (Beyond Division)" [11]

NSW Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages v Norrie

The New South Wales Government Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages initially recognized Norrie as being neither male nor female with a registered details certificate stating "not specified" in 2010. However, the Registry rescinded its decision in a formal letter of cancellation on 17 March 2010. In response, Norrie filed a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission and to the Court of Appeal. [12] The Court of Appeal ruled in favour of Norrie but the Registrar appealed to the High Court. In April 2014 the High Court ruled that it was within the Registrar's power to record in the register that the sex of Norrie was 'not specific'. The Court found that sex affirmation "surgery did not resolve her [sic] sexual ambiguity". [13] In commenting on the four-year battle, Norrie stated "It was swings and roundabouts, but I'm on Wikipedia now". [14]

Australian Marriage Act

Norrie and their friend were featured on the first episode of Hatch, Match & Dispatch where they were seeking to obtain a marriage license. They could not legally do so because Norrie is genderless, and the Australian marriage law at the time stated that marriage is between a man and a woman. Norrie planned to protest this to the UN. [15] [16] Though they declined, Norrie was told that they would be able to get married if they agreed to change their application to say "female". [17]

See also


  1. Stylized as norrie mAy-Welby

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  1. 1 2 "Sex not specified: Australia leads the way with legal document", The Scavenger. 8 March 2010
  2. Groom, Nelson (7 April 2014). "An Interview with Australia's First Recognized Agender - VICE". Vice. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  3. 1 2 "No sex for me, please! Ex-transsexual Australian Norrie May-Welby is first legally genderless person", New York Daily News. 16 March 2010.
  4. 1 2 "Briton is recognised as world's first officially genderless person", The Telegraph. 15 Mar 2010.
  5. "Norrie May-Welby: The World's First Legally Genderless Person", The Huffington Post. 18 March 2010.
  6. "Norrie May-Welby's battle to regain status as the world's first legally genderless person", Daily Life Australia. 8 November 2013
  7. 1 2 "Norrie, Senza Sesso ('Norrie, Without Sex')". 18 March 2010. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  8. "Gender Bender laps up zer attention!", Paisley Daily Express. 18 March 2010.
  9. 'Audience Show and Tell' - Archived 29 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine ABC1 Enough Rope , 11 August 2003
  10. Baird, Julia (6 April 2014). "Opinion | Neither Female Nor Male". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  11. Ultrasex (Beyond Division), ISBN   978-1-68957-331-3
  12. "Norrie backflip 'a breach of rights'" - Sydney Star Observer
  13. NSW Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages v Norrie, 2014High Court of Australia11 , 11(High Court of Australia2 April 2014).
  14. Davidson, Helen (2 April 2014). "Third gender must be recognised by NSW after Norrie wins legal battle". Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  15. "Norries Battle to Get Married Despite Being Neither Man Nor Woman". Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  16. Hatch, Match & Dispatch, episode 1
  17. Reynolds, Emma (2 November 2016). "Norrie's battle to get married despite being neither man nor woman". NewsComAu. Retrieved 4 October 2017.