Pro Bono Spotlight One: Civil Rights for All Oregonians
Nonbinary gender marker allowed as a legal status
In 2019, represented by attorney Lorena Reynolds, Eugene resident Jones Hollister filed a petition for a nonbinary gender marker with Lane County Circuit Court, but was denied.
Schwabe attorneys Sara Kobak and Jessie Schuh joined forces with Kelly Simon of ACLU of Oregon to represent ACLU of Oregon and Basic Rights Oregon as amicus curiae in support of Hollister’s petition. The Oregon Department of Justice, Transgender Law Center, InterACT, Beyond Binary Legal, and a group of 26 Oregon law professors also filed amicus curiae briefs in support of Hollister’s appeal.
In July 2020, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Hollister’s right to a nonbinary gender marker. As shared in a feature celebrating this victory for inclusion of all Oregonians, Hollister shared: “I am so thrilled. I’m thrilled for not just myself but for all nonbinary Oregonians. When I saw that the Court of Appeals had reversed the decision to refuse me a nonbinary marker, I honestly cried. Until this morning I haven’t allowed myself to hope that we would win. This ruling does not make me nonbinary. I was nonbinary long before this case. But this ruling means that I will have court paperwork confirming my identity. They can’t just change the administrative rules and take away my legal status as nonbinary. It is legally affirmed.”
In the same feature, Sara Kobak noted, “With this decision, all Oregonians now will have equal access to recognition of a legal sex designation that correctly reflects and affirms their gender identity regardless of where they live in the state.”
This Pro Bono Spotlight is part of our Schwabe 2020 Pro Bono Report.