Germany officially recognizing ‘third sex’
KARLSRUHE - Agence France-Presse
Germany’s top court on Nov. 7 required parliament to recognize a “third gender” from birth, potentially making it the first European country to offer intersex people the option of identifying as neither male nor female.
Current regulations on civil status are discriminatory against intersex people, the Federal Constitutional Court said, noting that the sexual identity of an individual is protected as a basic right.
Legislators must by the end of 2018 pass a new regulation to offer a third gender option in birth registers, the court added, ruling in favor of an appeal brought by an intersex person.
In the meantime, courts and state authorities should no longer compel intersex people to choose between identifying as male or female, said the top court.
The plaintiff had brought the appeal after several lower courts had ruled against a bid to introduce the gender options “inter” or “various” in the birth register.
The intersex person was registered as female, but a chromosome analysis found the plaintiff to be neither male nor female.
Intersex is a broad term encompassing people who have sex traits, such as genitals or chromosomes that do not entirely fit with typical binary notion of male and female.
So intersex people would have features that are neither wholly female nor wholly male, or a combination or neither.
Berlin pledged to follow through with the ruling, with interior ministry spokesman Johannes Dimroth saying that the government “stands ready to implement it.”
The activist group Third Option was bursting with joy over the ruling.
“We are completely overwhelmed and speechless. That’s a small revolution
in the gender area,” it said on Twitter.