Published: Thu, November 09, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Germany to recognise 'third gender' from birth after court ruling

Germany to recognise 'third gender' from birth after court ruling

"Even if this person chose the option 'no entry, ' it would not reflect that the complainant does not see themselves as a genderless person, but rather perceives themselves as having a gender beyond male or female", the court stated.

Germany's top court has ruled that there must be the option of registering a third gender on birth certificates, BBC reports.

The court added that current regulations on civil status were discriminatory against those who identified as intersex and asked for the category to be called either "inter" or "various". The X and Y chromosomes determine a person's sex.

Authorities originally rejected the person's petition, saying a child must be listed as male or female, or the section could be left blank.

Since 2013, it has been possible to leave the gender field blank on German birth certificates, but intersex campaigners insisted this was not enough.

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The judges ruled that the law doesn't define gender as binary, so the government can not force citizens to leave the form blank.

The minister for families in Chancellor Angela Merkel's outgoing government, Katarina Barley, said a third gender option was 'overdue'.

The court said it is up to the Senate to come up with a term.

The Transgender Europe and other German rights groups applauded the "groundbreaking" judgement.

Antke Engel, the director of The Institute of Queer Theory in Berlin, said she was impressed that ruling gave lawmakers the possibility of dropping the gender category altogether.

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Intersex people refer to those who are born with a combination of both male and female sex characteristics. And earlier this year, California became the second U.S. state (after New York) to allow state residents who don't identify as male or female to change their birth certificates to match their gender identity.

Wednesday's decision overturned a ruling by a lower court previous year in a case brought by a German citizen born in 1989, identified as Vanja by the Third Option campaign group that supported the plaintiff in the case. The UN says the condition affects up to 1.7% of the world's population.

In 2013, Australia adopted the Sex Discrimination Amendment, the first law to include intersex status as a stand-alone prohibited ground of discrimination.

Earlier this year, California joined NY as the only states to allow residents who don't identify as male or female to change their birth certificates to match their gender identity.

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