Germany’s highest court has ruled that the country must recognize a third gender, for those individuals who have ambiguous sexual traits or those who identify as neither male or female.
The court ruled that under the current legislation, only providing an option for either male or female genders was unconstitutional, and ruled that the new legislation needs to be in place by the end of 2018.
This is a landmark ruling, and makes Germany the first country in Europe to recognize a third gender, but not the first when it comes to the world as other countries; Australia, India, New Zealand, Nepal and California also recognize a third gender on all official documents.
Back in 2013, Germany became the first country in Europe to allow for parents of newborn children to not put down the sex of their baby on the birth certificate, if their child was born with characteristics of both male and female sexes.
Lambda Legal is an American advocacy group who advocates on behalf of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender people and according to Hayley Gorenberg, the German ruling would allow parents to wait, and let their children choose what sex they want to be identified as.
“It seems to be very clearly about not forcing people into a particular gender marker label, and I think that’s very important,” she said. “The fact is, just like any other personal characteristics, gender is on a spectrum and not everybody falls into the binary category of male or female.”
If lawmakers end up not passing the legislation by the end of 2018, then they must remove all gender identification requirements from public documentation