Published On: Tue, Nov 12th, 2013

Germany no longer requires babies to be registered as boys or girls

November 1st marked the beginning of a new rule in Germany, or the removal of said rule, as the legal requirement to babies born in Germany to be registered as a male or female on their birth certificate.

photo Marcus Werthmann

photo Marcus Werthmann

German officials are not pushing a third gender or a transgender category, but rather a gender opt-out.

Parents can leave the male and female boxes on the birth certificate unchecked.

This appears to be well received by battling gender identity issues and a 2012 study by Germany, the German Ethics Council—an interdisciplinary group of academics and experts—issued a report recommending an end to the compulsory registration of people as either male or female. In a press release for the report issued on February 23, 2012, the Council writes:

“Irreversible medical sex assignment measures in persons of ambiguous gender infringe the right to physical integrity, to preservation of sexual and gender identity, to an open future and often also to procreative freedom. The decision concerned is personal.”

It’s noteworthy to point to Australia’s third option, an “X” on legal forms, to illustrate Germany is not alone is their decision to move towards a “gender neutral” society.

According to Dr. Frank Fischer, Distinguished Professor of Politics and Global Affairs at Rutgers University, this move to reassess birth certificate protocol and examine the treatment of intersex individuals comes on the heels of a long period of lobbying by advocacy groups.


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