The number of countries in the world officially recognizing and accepting a third gender option is growing.
Germany is the latest addition to the ranks and is the first country in Europe to do so. The first country in the world to allow its citizens an alternative choice to male or female was Nepal in 2011. Australia followed shortly after in the same year.
There is now an active movement in Canada to try to persuade its government to follow the same path. A group called Forcechange is encouraging people, through its website, to sign an online petition in support of the objective.
Of course, it is never easy to convince legislators to agree to take such a radical step as recognizing a third gender. Just look at many years it has been since the concept of same sex marriage was accepted.
In 1979, The Netherlands was the first country to agree to the legal status of civil union between same-sex couple. Ten years later, Denmark passed a law recognizing same-sex partnerships.
In the years since then, the number of countries has slowly increased,and there are now 17 countries in which same-sex marriage is legal.
In America, the Federal Government has decided that it doesn’t want to commit itself and has passed the buck to individual State Governments.
On May 17 2004, the state of Massachusetts was the first to legalize gay marriage; now the number of states with a similar law has grown to 14.
It is reasonable to assume that the progress of third gender recognition will follow a similar time line.
Germany’s action in allowing the registration of a third gender option on future birth certificates makes it the first European country to “grasp the nettle.” It will certainly not be the last.