The government of Germany on Wednesday approved a draft law permitting a third gender option on birth certificates for babies who are not clearly male or female.
In a move termed by the justice minister as “long overdue”, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s left-right association passed a bill allowing children born intersex to be registered as ‘various’.
The ruling was in favor of an appeal brought by an intersex adult and said that state authorities and courts should no longer obligate intersex people to choose between identifying as female or male.
The bill follows a verdict by Germany’s top tribunal last November that present regulations on civil status are discriminatory against intersex people, adding that the sexual identity of a person is protected as a basic right.
Germany has since 2013 allowed newborns with traits of both sexes to leave the gender options of female and male blank.
The Federal Constitutional Court briefed parliament they had until the end of 2018 to redraft the current legislation.
Intersex is a general term covering people who have sex traits, such as chromosomes or genitals, that do not entirely fit with a ‘normal’ dual notion of male and female.
“No one should be discriminated against on the basis of their sexual identity,” said Justice Minister Katarina Barley, stressing that the new category would provide intersex people with a greater sense of “dignity and positive identity”.
Justice Barley, whose office drafted the bill, explained the legislation marked a huge step forward by requiring a new birth gender option.
Accordant to the United Nations, between 0.05 and 1.7% of the world population is intersex — about the same % that have red hair.
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