Judges in Multnomah County have been in the news quite a bit in recent weeks. In January, Judge Monica Herranz made national headlines after it was learned that she helped a drunk driving illegal immigrant evade ICE agents by sneaking him out of the courthouse through a rear entrance. And now another Portland judge, Amy Holmes Hehn, has become the first judge in the United States to legally declare a person genderless.

On March 10, Multnomah County Judge Amy Holmes Hehn granted a petition allowing Patrick Abbatiello to legally change his name to "Patch", and to also switch his gender from male to "agender."

Patch explains his decision to the media

The 27-year-old Abbatiello, who works as a video game designer and is currently attending Portland Community College, explained that he didn't suddenly decide to be genderless.

"I never felt like I fell within any part of the gender spectrum. None of the binary options, nothing in-between," stated Abbatiello, as reported by the Daily Mail. "I don't consider myself non-binary because that's an umbrella term for anything that isn't binary, which is gender identity."

Although legal experts believe that Judge Hehn's ruling is the first of its kind in the United States, the same judge allowed a 52-year-old Army veteran named Jamie Shupe to legally change genders from female to "non-binary" in 2016.

The judge was promptly hailed as a hero by the LGBTQ community. Nancy Haque, a co-executive director for Basic Rights Oregon, referred to the ruling as a "momentous day for genderqueer Oregonians."

Judge didn't blink an eye at the unusual petition

According to Patch, who is also a co-ordinator at his school's Queer Resource Center, the process was relatively simple.

After filing the necessary paperwork on January 23 with the court clerk, all he had to do was wait for the judge to grant the petition. "The judge took the form and signed it through. Took a look at it and that was it. Didn't speak to me or anything."

Judge Hehn said that her decision to legally declare Patch Abbatiello as genderless was supported by law.

However, Oregon law states that a court can change a person's legal sex only if a judge determines the person has undergone surgical, hormonal or other gender transition treatment -- none of these conditions were met by Abbatiello.

While Judge Hehn's decision was the first of its kind in United States judicial history, it is not the first of its kind in the world. In 2015 a high court in France permitted a citizen to legally register as gender neutral.