German Parliament adds a third gender option to birth certificates

The German Parliament added a third gender option following a court ruling in 2017.

Germany has become the latest country to legally recognise a third gender. The Local Germany reports that the option to leave the gender section on official documents blank will now be replaced by a “diverse” option, for people who don’t identify as male or female.

They report that the changes in the law will make it easier for intersex people to be registered and for transgender people to change their first names on their birth certificates. However, both of these changes will still require a medical certificate.

The last part was criticised by members of the Lesbian and Gay Association of Germany, as well as politicians from the Green party and Social Democrats. They argued that as intersexuality was more than just physical attributes, it should not require the medical certificate.

The diverse option was added to official documents following a ruling from Germany’s highest court, the Federal Court of Justice. In 2017 they ruled that it was unconstitutional to force people to either identify as male or female, following a case brought by an intersex activist, and they gave the German Parliament until the end of 2018 to change the law.

Last month, a consultation performed by the Scottish government found that a majority of people agreed that citizens should have the legal right to identify as non-binary.

Moreover, two thirds also said they believe that the age in which people can apply to legally change their gender should be lowered from 18 to 16, reports the Scotsman.

The consultation found that 65% of people felt that the government should “take action to recognise non-binary people” with a further 56% of people agreeing that gender non-binary people should be able to legally change their gender as part of a new self-declaration system.

The Scottish Trans Alliance welcomed the results, adding that with the large amount of respondents and a majority agreeing with changes to be made indicates that the public’s view on the issue is “clear”.

“While advancing equality for minority groups does not depend on opinion polling, it is always great to see high levels of consultation support,” said the group’s manager James Morton.

“We also welcome that opponents of the reforms have been able to freely share their views with the Government, as we believe that constructive dialogue and close scrutiny of legislation proposals is always helpful in ensuring there will be no unintended consequences.”

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