Is the baby male? Female? Or a third gender? Germany will soon became the first country in Europe to legally recognize children born with ambiguous genitalia.
According to ABC, a new law aimed to fight discrimination will go into effect this November. Parents will be give a third gender option, “undetermined” or “unspecified” on their child’s birth certificate.
The law will allow parents to declare the child’s gender at a later date or to let “undertermined” remain on the birth certificate.
ECNS reports that the new law is being hailed as a “legal revolution” but it is still unclear if other documents, such as passports, will also come with a third gender option. FarMZ, a German Family Law Journal, suggested that in addition to “M” and “F” on legal documents like a driver’s license, people should also be allowed to choose “X.”
New York City psychiatrist Dr. Jack Drescher told ABC that the new law is a step in the right direction.
Drescher said: “Some people have life-endangering conditions that require surgery, but most kids do not… You can make a gender assignment without surgery and then see how identity develops. The science of knowing how a child will develop any gender identity is not very accurate…. Nobody can answer the questions about why this happens. It’s like the mystery of why people are gay.”
Yahoo reports that about 1 in 2,000 children are born every year without a clear gender. These children usually have one of 60 conditions considered a disorder of sexual development (DSD).
Silvan Agius, policy director of Europe’s International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association,said that the third gender option in Germany should encourage other European nations to examine their gender laws.
Agius said: “Things are moving slower than they should at the European level. Though Brussels has ramped up efforts to promote awareness of trans and intersex discrimination, I would like to see things speed up.”