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  • 26.04.2018

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‘Third gender’ option to be offered at birth
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25.04.2018

‘Third gender’ option to be offered at birth

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Germany's top court has ruled there must be a “third gender” option on birth certificates.
The Federal Constitutional Court said the current regulations that offer only male or female options are discriminatory against intersex people.
Legislators must pass a law by the end of 2018 that requires a third gender option on birth registry for people who are born neither male nor female.
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Intersex people have chromosomes or reproductive anatomy that don’t fit in with the typical binary definitions of male and female, with the condition affecting around 1.7 per cent of the world’s population.
“The assignment of gender is of paramount importance for individual identity; it usually plays a key role both for a person’s self-conception and for the way this person is perceived by others,” the Federal Constitutional Court said in its announcement.
“The gender identity of persons who can be assigned neither male nor female gender is also protected under this right.”
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In regards to the announcement, Germany’s Third Option group, which has been campaigning for the inclusion of an intersex category, posted on Twitter that they were “completely overwhelmed and speechless” and described the ruling as “a small revolution in the area of gender”.
The Federal Anti-Discrimination agency has called it a “historic decision for the equal treatment of intersex people”.
In the wake of the decision, Germany is set to be the first European country to officially recognise intersex people, joining countries like Australia, New Zealand, Nepal, India and the US that already have such legislation in place.
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Since 2013 in Germany, if a child was born intersex there was the option to leave the gender box blank. Before that, officials would decide the sex and then often perform surgery so they would fit into the female or male assignment.
The ruling came from an appeal submitted by an intersex person referred to as Vanja who was registered as female at birth and wished to change the entry to “inter” or “various”.
The original request was denied by the lower courts so the plaintiff escalated it to the high court where it was agreed that the current process was incompatible with Germany’s constitution and amounted to gender discrimination.
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