Germany must allow ‘third gender’ from birth, top court rules
KARLSRUHE, Germany, January 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Germany’s top court has mandated legal recognition of a “third gender” from birth.
Limiting identity registration to natural, binary gender labels is discriminatory toward individuals who do not fall under the categories of “male” or “female,” the Federal Constitutional Court ruled.
The ruling puts Germany on a short list of countries, including Australia, India, New Zealand and Nepal, which recognize “intersex” identity on official documents. It’s the first European country to do so.
Germany’s legislators must pass a new regulation that offers the third gender option of “intersex,” according to the ruling handed down late last year. They have until the end of this year to do so.
The case was brought by an “intersex” German registered at birth as female, Fox News reported.
The petitioner, known as “Vanja” in court documents, appears and lives as a female but does not identify with either gender because of a chromosomal anomaly.
The top court ruled in Vanja’s favor after lower courts denied Vanja’s request to include “inter” and “various” as identifiers at birth.
German law previously only recognized male and female as possible options for birth registration of gender.
As of 2013, however, the law allowed parents of intersex individuals to leave the gender question blank as a legal third gender option.
That law was factored into a lower court ruling against Vanja. The court found that the question of whether the requirements for birth registration “violated intersexuals’ fundamental rights no longer arises.”
Vanja disagreed, saying at the time of the earlier court denial, “For intersex people, a third sex would finally record, after decades of denial and invisibility, the recognition of their existence.”
The Dritte Option (Third Option) advocacy group assisted Vanja in appealing the decision.
Intersex refers to a number of conditions where aspects of an individual’s physical or biological characteristics do not completely fit into a male or female category.
Transgender denotes gender confusion or dysphoria, where the individual identifies psychologically with the opposite gender.
The City of Berlin has signaled it will comply with the ruling, Interior Ministry spokesman Johannes Dimroth stating, “The government stands ready to implement it.”
The United States issued its first intersex birth certificate in December 2016 in New York City.