The top court in Germany has ruled that a third gender must now be recognised on birth certificates. Following a case brought forward by a registered female, whose chromosome test demonstrated that they were neither male nor female, the law is beginning to recognise the existence of intersex people.
Intersex people are born with a mixture of male and female sex characteristics and the condition affects up to 1.7% of the world's population, according to the UN.
Consequently, German parents can now register their children as a third gender, the official name to be agreed at the end of 2018. We can expect something along the lines of ‘inter’ or ‘various’.
The third gender is already acknowledged on official documents in Australia, India, New Zealand, Nepal and the US, where the first intersex birth certificate was issued last year. However, Germany will be the first European country to follow suit.
The condition affects more people than you may think, many of whom have been subjected to painful and irreversible surgery to assign them a gender. Supermodel Hanne Gaby Odiele revealed she was intersex this year, hoping to ‘break the taboo’ and promote awareness of the medical trauma intersex people often go through. By recognising them as intersex, she believes we are accepting them for who they really are.
France have openly rejected the idea of a third gender, after declining the request for ‘neutral’ gender designation to a 66-year-old born with neither a penis nor vagina.
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