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09th Nov 2017

Germany is set to recognise third gender on birth certificates soon

This makes Germany the first European country to allow parents to designate their offspring as a third gender

Trine Jensen-Burke

Intersex people are born with a mixture of male and female sex characteristics, and according to The UN, the condition affects up to 1.7% of the world’s population.

In Australia, India, New Zealand, Nepal and the US, these are already recognised on official documents (in the US, the first intersex birth certificate was issued last year.)

And now a top court has ruled that Germany must follow suit, and that there must be the option of registering a gender that is neither male nor female on birth certificates, something which, if is brought in, would make Germany the first European country to allow parents to designate their intersex offspring as a third gender.

According to the BBC, the constitutional court in Karlsruhe has given the government until the end of 2018 to pass a law specifying a category other than male or female, suggesting the new category be called “inter” or “various”.

It also said current regulations on civil status were discriminatory against intersex people.

Germany has since 2013 had the option to leave the gender box blank on the birth certificate for people born with characteristics of both males and females, and before that, as was the custom in other countries too, officials would enter either male or female, and intersex people were often subjected to painful and irreversible surgery assigning them a gender.





In Denmark, Malta, Ireland and Norway adult citizens can self-determine their gender in law without medical examination, and can, in some cases, apply retrospectively to have the gender on their birth certificate changed.