As the 52-year-old sexual equality campaigner later quipped, ''there's not that many of us 'odd bods' around''.
In an Australian first, the NSW Court of Appeal on Friday gave people who do not identify as male or female formal legal recognition. It overturned a ruling that everyone must be registered as a man or a woman with the registry of births, deaths and marriages. Previously this right was restricted to passports. It is also likely to be drawn upon as a guide for cases interstate.
''This is the first decision that recognises that 'sex' is not binary - it is not only 'male' or 'female' - and that we should have recognition of that in the law and in our legal documents,'' said Emily Christie, one of Norrie's solicitors, from DLA Piper.
The Human Rights Law Centre's Hugh de Kretser said the court's decision would be ''persuasive'' in legal disputes in other states. ''Agencies, non-government organisations will be looking to apply this more broadly than just in NSW,'' he said.
In 2010, Norrie, who identifies as neuter and uses only a first name, became the first in NSW to be neither man nor woman in the eyes of the government with a formal ''sex not specified'' registration.
But four months later the registry wrote to Norrie, saying the change had been ''issued in error'' and was invalid.
''It was completely unproblematic for a month - the world didn't collapse, the sky didn't fall in, human life continued,'' Norrie recalled. ''Then it was on the front page and they suddenly said: 'Oh, no, we couldn't possibly do that!''
Norrie appealed the decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, but the case was dismissed. Norrie then went to the Court of Appeal, where the three-judge appeal panel unanimously declared that ''as a matter of construction ... the word sex does not bear a binary meaning of 'male' or 'female'''
The matter has now been sent back to the Administrative Decisions Tribunal which must decide on a sexless designation.
The decision has both symbolic and practical significance. Unlike passports, which currently allow for someone to declare their sex as ''X'', registry documents such as birth certificates are ''cardinal documents'', meaning they create a person's identity. They are thus recognised by government departments, courts and other legal authorities.
Though the decision only applies directly to those such as Norrie who have had sex affirmation surgery (previously known as sex change surgery) it has potential implications for many others, including babies born with ambiguous genitalia.
The decision also comes as the federal government prepares to pass a law that would protect lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex people from discrimination on the basis of their sexuality for the first time.
Record-keeping is exempt from the bill in its current form. Ms Christie said it was too soon to tell what would happen but the judges had considered the flow-on effect of their decision on other legislation.
Transgender Victoria spokeswoman Sally Goldner said the ruling was a ''step in the right direction''.
''From a point of view of transgender people, in particular, it does recognise the fact that people's sense of identity can be neither male nor female and that we don't have to fit everyone into one of two dot points because simply people are not one of two dot points,'' Ms Goldner said. ''This ruling does respect the reality of gender diversity and that's a good thing.''
The world's first intersex mayor, Tony Briffa, said while the decision was a ''good step'' for people like Norrie who are androgynous or neuter, there were still questions about how the ruling would affect intersex people who are both male and female.
''Of course this decision is a good step for people like Norrie ... but I have to consider the decision a bit further before I can determine how it will apply to intersex people,'' the Hobsons Bay councillor said.
''This decision presumably says that you can either be male, female or nothing,'' Cr Briffa said. ''I'm an intersex person. I'm not nothing.
I am a combination of male and female and the registrations should be accurate and give someone like me the right to have our birth certificates reflect our sex as male and female. We shouldn't have to choose which one we are because that's impossible and it's not accurate.''
Norrie said the decision recognised that not all people were ''unambiguously male or female''. ''I know there's not many of us, but the law has to be for everyone.''
With JANE LEE, RACHEL WELLS
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/national/please-just-call-me-norrie-this-is-a-whole-new-agenda-20130531-2nhmo.html#ixzz2UulAdyCQ