Last December, I received an early Christmas present that I would have rejected just one year earlier: an “M” for “male” on my driver’s license.
The switch back to male marked the end of a long journey of gender confusion and self-deception. Along the way I became a transgender activist and then America’s first legally non-binary person.
By Christmas Eve 2019, I was done with the lies. By God’s grace, a Portland judge granted my petition to legally restore my sex to male.
This has been a five-year ordeal. I first rose to become a transgender activist in 2015, telling The New York Times: “I now live in a world where radical, conservative politicians and religious groups routinely attack my very existence with legislation to deny me basic human rights such as a bathroom that matches my gender-identity.”
In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>
New to identifying as a woman at that stage of my life, but indoctrinated by the peddlers of transgender ideology to believe I was one, I incorrectly believed that gaining access to female bathrooms was a human rights issue for me.
I was wrong. In hindsight, it was all part of a selfish quest to nourish my long-held sexual fantasy of being a woman—a mental disorder called autogynephilia.
Although my landmark court case was built on lies, deceit, and pseudoscience, I didn’t care. It didn’t matter to me that the sex change petition fictitiously claimed my sex was non-binary and got two doctors to say so.
It didn’t matter to me that before the brief hearing, which lasted mere minutes, my lawyer had confided that the case was essentially fixed, that the judge had a transgender child and had recently granted a sex change for a 12-year-old.
None of that mattered, because winning meant getting sweet revenge against those who I’d come to believe were harming me and stopping me from engaging in my addiction—the feminists, and conservative Christians.
Fine, I thought to myself back then. If all these parties don’t want me in female bathrooms, then I’ll help destroy the very thing they want to protect: The definition of sex as we’ve known it for over 200 years in America.
When I was finished, sex was no longer grounded to science by things like chromosomes and genitals observed at birth. It was determined by personal feelings rooted in what I would later come to realize were sex stereotypes.
It wasn’t lost on me that if I won the case and had my sex declared as non-binary (neither male nor female), and had that codified into law, then bathrooms would subsequently have to be made gender-neutral.
People who are hurt end up hurting people, so at the time I didn’t care if my actions were detrimental to women and young girls.
In my mind, by winning the case, I was sticking it to those radical feminists who had refused to accept me as one of them. Being legally no longer classified as female meant this vicious group of women could no longer accuse me of appropriating womanhood and being a caricature of a female—even if that was true (and it was).
Likewise, I intended to take revenge on the Christians, another group that had antagonized me since I’d begun donning a wig and dress and acting out sexually in public.
I didn’t know much about the Bible back then, but I knew enough to know they cherished its teaching about how God created only male and female. So I vowed to destroy that sacred belief.
When I officially “broke” the gender binary, the media circus was spectacular. Media outlets from as far away as Germany cheered me on, celebrating my victory and embracing me as their latest LGBT hero.
For me, the celebration went on for months as I entertained reporters with tales of how I was the third gender: a special combination of male biology and a female gender identity.
Of course, it was all a complete delusion, but journalists ate it up. Not once did they question me. And above all, I believed it. Having an official “X” marker on my driver’s license served as validation from the government that I was, indeed, nonbinary.
The X marker is supposed to mean “sex unspecified or indeterminate,” but that’s not what I or any of the other people getting the designation believe about ourselves. At birth, my correct sex was easily determinable by the male genitals I have always possessed.
Today, back to my senses and having legally reclaimed my male birth sex, I recognize the damage I’ve done. But my return to sanity and embrace of my male sex have caused the cheering on the left to fall silent.
Even more importantly, though, I’ve taken responsibility for the harm I have caused, for the millions of dollars spent to advance the fraud that I shamefully participated in. In church and public, I confessed my sins, and humbled myself before the Lord, pleading for Him to lift me up.
As a result, the Lord has lifted me, and I’m now getting the help I should have gotten all along.
Setting the Record Straight
In April 2019, the Department of Veterans Affairs reluctantly agreed to diagnose me with a sexual paraphilia, the true cause behind my previous sexual confusion. And in December, despite my past and who I had been, a Christian legal organization agreed to help me change my sex back to male.
On Dec. 12, a Portland attorney submitted a new sex change petition on my behalf to the very court that had once declared my sex as non-binary.
In the documents, we asked for reclamation of the male birth sex that I was correctly observed to be at birth, and for the restoration of the precious name given to me by my parents.
After receiving the news that the petition was successfully filed, I prayed. Others joined me in prayer, asking the Lord for speedy success in our endeavor. And within just a short time our prayers were answered.
In only a week, a more competent judge signed the order, ending the legal fiction behind the fraud that had allowed an X marker on drivers licenses in over a dozen states.
On Dec. 24, a courthouse clerk deposited the signed and notarized court order declaring my sex male and my name James Clifford Shupe into the postal system, with a destination of my new home state of Florida.
President Ronald Reagan taught me as a young soldier to vote with my feet, so I did, leaving Oregon with the intention of sending a clear message that I wouldn’t be party to the mutilation of children that goes on there under the guise of gender therapy.
I’m often asked what has prompted my turnabout and conversion to Christ.
The answer lies in the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, which also apply to other addictions, such as my compulsive sexual behavior.
I have admitted that I am powerless over my mental illness and transvestic disorder. I have accepted that my life has become unmanageable and that only a power greater than myself can restore me to sanity. And I have made a conscious decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand Him.
During my long journey of first identifying as a female and then later non-binary, I’ve walked among the many drug and alcohol-addicted homeless people sleeping on the streets of the West Coast each night. I’ve abused my flesh in Portland sex clubs, BDSM dungeons, and adult theaters. I’ve harmed my body with cross-sex hormones and risky sexual behaviors. And I’ve dishonored my wife and my marriage vows with inexcusable transgressions, of which there are many.
It took seeing and experiencing all of that destruction and recognizing the harms of it for me to finally understand that Christianity builds stronger families, safer communities, and most importantly, a better nation.
Like the Apostle Paul, my past actions of harming Christians, and in my case also harming women and girls by entering their bathroom space, will always humble me before women, the American public, and the Lord.
Similarly, like Paul, I too will carry an irremovable thorn in my flesh. Biblical scholars are unable to agree about the type of thorn Paul carried, but for me, it is a transvestic disorder with autogynephilia—a mental disorder I will battle for the remainder of my days.
Will I stumble and fall, or relapse again as we call it in recovery? Maybe—and to be honest, I already have. Going into my detransition, I set an unrealistic goal of perfection for myself, throwing away all of my women’s clothing and vowing to never cross-dress or act out sexually again.
That proved to be disastrous because as my testosterone quickly returned, I soon relapsed into another bout of stockpiling female garments.
But no relapse like this means that I or any other male with this mental disorder is female.
Some Christians have compared my circumstances to Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff in Roe v. Wade who later became a pro-life advocate.
In my non-binary court case, I lied about not being male. Similarly, McCorvey lied about being sexually assaulted. And in both cases, a loophole in state law was exploited to advance destructive medical practices. In Texas, for McCorvey, it was the right to get an abortion. For me in Oregon, it was the right to change your sex.
Both of our court cases then went on to unleash something monstrous.
Like McCorvey, because of the magnitude of my misdeeds and the amount of damage done, I sought forgiveness in the only place capable of bestowing forgiveness: the loving arms of Jesus.
Should I relapse, the correct response for others would be to promptly get me help. Civilly commit me if necessary, if the relapse has progressed to self-harm. But do not, under any circumstances, indulge my past delusions or new ones.
In Christ, I am a new creation. “The old has gone; the new has come.”
James Shupe (formerly Jamie) retired from the Army with the rank of sergeant first class. He previously identified as transgender and was the first American to obtain nonbinary status under law. Twitter: @NotableDesister.
A Note for our Readers:
This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.
The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.
They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!
EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.