A third gender option is being added to birth certificates in Germany. In addition to “male” and “female,” parents will have the option of selecting “blank” as the child’s gender.
Germany is the first country in the European Union to include the option. The additional gender option will be added to all birth certificates in Germany beginning November 1.
As reported by CS Monitor, the legislation was introduced by the German Ethics Council. The law was created to protect the rights of children who are intersexual.
The new law states, in part, that “if a child cannot be designated male or female… they should be entered in the birth register without such a status.”
The legislation will protect children from irreversible medical or surgical procedures.
As reported by Spiegel, the law passed in May. Birth certificates are the only documents that will allow the third option. The law does not change passports, driving permits, identification cards, or any other legal documents.
Earlier this year, Australia became the first country in the world to allow a third gender option. Unlike Germany, Australia’s law covers all personal and legal documents.
Australian residents have the option of choosing or changing their gender. Sex reassignment surgery is not required.
Other countries in the EU are working toward similar changes. Lawmakers in Finland have progressed toward recognizing a third gender. However, the laws remain unchanged.
Brussels has struggled for years to implement laws against gender discrimination. While some progress has been made, it is a slow process.
The European chapter of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, applaud’s Germany’s new law. Director Silvan Agius points out that discrimination is “rampant in all EU countries.” However, he hopes other countries will follow Germany’s example.
The third gender option will allow individuals to determine their own identity. Far too often, parents and doctors are forced to make the decision while children are too young to understand.