Norrie May-Welby

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Norrie May-Welby
Norrie May-Welby.jpg
Date of birth Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Nationality Australian
Pronouns she/her[1] or they/them[2]
Gender identity
  • "I'm an androgynous person. [...] I am male, I am female, I am human."[3]
  • spansexual[1]
  • "bi-gendered"[4]
Occupation cartoonist[5]

Norrie May-Welby (sometimes styled as Norrie mAy Welby) is a nonbinary cartoonist who made headlines for seeking legal recognition of her gender.

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 However, the Registry rescinded its decision in a formal letter of cancellation on 17 March 2010.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.[6] 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".[7]

For a short while, Norrie performed drag under the stage name "La Contessa Norrishka".[8]


"I coined the term [spansexual] in the mid 90s. Span is like a bridge, and sex is like a division (the word sex is from the Latin word for sect or section). The way I perceive myself is, I span the divide between male and female. Like a bridge, I’m in both places at once."[1]

"In a decade or so, being transgender will be as un-noteworthy as being left-handed – statistically unusual, but often unnoticed. Children will be able to access appropriate puberty blockers without having to go to court. And hopefully, with less adverse pressure and more acceptance, more transgender and other sex or gender diverse people will go on to have happy, full, and fulfilling lives, and less will fall to the life-shortening events that we used to suffer in the bad old days."[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Groom, Nelson (7 April 2014). "An Interview with Australia's First Recognized Agender". Vice. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Wolfgramme, Katherine (20 March 2019). "The Gender Whisperer interviews Norrie". Katherine Wolfgramme - Transgender & Gender Diversity Consultant, Trans Awareness Training and Diversity Speaker in Sydney. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  3. "Interview with Norrie mAy Welby, the world's first officially recognised genderless person". YouTube. 7 March 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  4. May-Welby, Norrie. "Bi-Gendered". Archived from the original on October 2009.
  5. Reynolds, Emma (11 February 2016). "'Not man or woman, but I want to marry'". Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  6. Potts, Andrew M (18 March 2010). "Norrie backflip 'a breach of rights'". Star Observer. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  7. "NSW Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages v Norrie". 2 April 2014.
  8. May-Welby, Norrie. "spansexual photo-bio". Archived from the original on October 2009.
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