Coming out and coming into your own being is a miraculous thing. We often seem that we are on our own through this transition, but we know there have been others that went before us. There are several out and proud stars, figures, and role models now.
But what if you are going off on a different direction than anyone else? What if there hasn't been a story like yours?
History was quietly made in Oregon this month when a judge granted a Portlander's request to become genderless.
Patch, a 27-year-old video game designer, is likely the first legally agender person in the United States.
The Multnomah County Court granted Patch a "General Judgment of Name and Sex Change" on March 10. In the same judgment, Patch was also allowed to change names, becoming mononymous — meaning only having one name instead of a given name and a surname.
Agender is defined as the absence of gender. Not to be confused with transgender or genderqueer, agender people typically describe feeling that they have no gender identity whatsoever. While sex refers to biological features such as chromosomes, genitalia and hormones, gender is the expression of identity as male, female or somewhere in between. But agender people are not drawn to male or female identity — or any point along the spectrum.
"As a kid, probably starting around age 6, gender didn't make sense to me," Patch told NBC News. "I was told 'men were this, women were this.' As a teen I learned about transgender people, and that didn't seem like what I was. And then I learned about genderqueer, and that didn't seem like what I was."
This is not just a story about Patch, but also the legal first, but it is not the first "first" this judge has seen.
The judge who signed off on Patch's agender petition is ahead of the curve: She also presided over the nation's first non-binary gender change last year.
In a June 2016 decision, Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Amy Holmes Hehn granted Portland resident Jamie Shupe a legal change from female to non-binary — casually setting off a nationwide third-gender movement that sent dozens of residents in other states into courthouses seeking genders other than male or female.
In her first media statement about the precedent-setting cases, Judge Holmes Hehn told NBC News that the law supports Shupe and Patch.
"I made these decisions, like all decisions, because they were supported by facts and law, and out of respect for the dignity of the people who came before me," Holmes Hehn said in an email to NBC News.
For more on this case and Judge Holmes Hen, head over to NBCnews.com . The story elaborates on what pronouns to use, if any, with genderless or agender people, to how the government could learn from Facebook on how to work with agender people.
Countries including Australia, Canada and India have third gender options on varying documents from birth certificates to passports — typically marked with an "X" rather than "M" or "F." But the U.S. has never offered anything besides male and female until December, when California's Sara Kelly Keenan received the first known U.S. birth certificate reading "intersex" shortly after a judge granted her gender change from female to non-binary.
Patch would prefer that gender wasn't required, period, and suggested that official forms replace the typical M or F checkboxes with a blank space for an optional response.