Featured Image
Emile RatelbandYouTube screenshot

ARNHEM, Netherlands, December 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Dutch court has rejected a 69-year-old man’s novel effort to shave two decades off of his legal age, in a case that echoes the “gender identity” debate on both sides.

Emile Ratelband is a 69-year-old life coach from Arnhem, a town southeast of Amsterdam. He sued last month in hopes of getting a court to change his birth certificate to say he was born on March 11, 1969 instead of his actual date of birth, March 11, 1949, arguing that he’s physically and mentally healthy enough that he should be able to reap the professional and romantic benefits of being considered much younger.

“If you’re 69 on Tinder, you’re outdated,” explained Ratelband. He added that his actual age has been a sticking point for potential clients concerned he can’t “speak the language of young people” despite being more knowledgeable and experienced than younger competitors.

Ratelband has something of a reputation as a “political provocateur,” raising questions as to whether his bid is sincere or just an elaborate stunt, but he says he subjected himself to a psychiatric evaluation to demonstrate his seriousness.

“Nowadays, in Europe and in the United States, we are free people,” Ratelband said, explicitly comparing his case to the case for transgenderism. “We can make our own decisions if we want to change our name, or if we want to change our gender. So I want to change my age. My feeling about my body and about my mind is that I’m about 40 or 45.”

Last month, Ratelband’s oratory skills reportedly won him some sympathy from the court, but a judge had reservations about effectively erasing the first 20 years of his life from his birth certificate. Those reservations ultimately prevailed, CNS News reports.

“The court found that there was no scope in legislation or case law to allow such a ruling,” the Arnhem district court announced Monday. “The court did not find any reason in Mr Ratelband’s arguments to create new case law in line with the statutory provisions on changes to a person’s officially registered name or gender.”

The announcement explained that the priority is to ensure “accurate factual information” in public registers, and that allowing fake dates of birth would make age-related rights and responsibilities such as voting and attending school “meaningless.”

“Mr Ratelband had failed to sufficiently substantiate his claim that he suffers from age discrimination, and in any case there are other alternatives available for challenging age discrimination, rather than amending a person’s date of birth,” the court reasoned. “The court also rejected Mr Ratelband’s argument based on free will, since free will does not extend so far as to make every desired outcome legally possible.”

“Mr Ratelband is at liberty to feel 20 years younger than his real age and to act accordingly,” the court explained. “But amending his date of birth would cause 20 years of records to vanish from the register of births, deaths, marriages and registered partnerships. This would have a variety of undesirable legal and societal implications.”

Ratelband’s arguments about the age he “feels” himself to be echo LGBT activists’ claims that a gender-confused individual’s feelings should trump their objective biological sex. The court’s rejection of those arguments echo conservative concerns for the cultural, legal, mental, and emotional ramifications of erasing gender distinctions.

In responding to the ruling, Ratelband actually seemed pleased that the story would live on during appeal.

“The rejection of [the] court is great…because they give all kinds of angles where we can connect when we go in appeal,” he said, according to the New York Post. “I say [my claim is] comparable [to changing gender] because it has to do with my feeling, with respect about who I think…I am, my identity.”

In his column discussing the case, conservative commentator Dennis Prager agreed that both rationales are similar. “If sex doesn’t objectively exist, why does age?” he asked. “If feelings determine sex, why don’t feelings determine age?” Nevertheless, he saw the notion of gender fluidity as dangerous.

“We are living in a time of intellectual and moral chaos,” Prager said. “The political movement known as leftism or progressivism (not liberalism) is first and foremost a chaotic force. And nowhere is that chaos more evident than in the left’s attempt to end the reality that the human being is created either male or female.”