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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Netherlands: It's time for a third gender

Por Jade

A Dutch court ruled Monday that children whose sex "can not be determined at birth" can be registered without specifying such information on the birth certificate or identity document. The Court of Limburg, in the south-west of the country, ruled in favor of a person resident in the Dutch city of Roermond, who, at birth in 1961, could not determine his gender and the parents decided to register him in the registry as "man" because "that was the easiest" for "the child," they said.

However, this person did not feel like a man and in 2001 he managed to change the sex to "feminine", which "was not appropriate either" because he is considered "neutral sex" or what he called "the third gender". The identity of the applicant has not transcended, but the general lines of his case. This ruling can help to modify the laws, because until now a decision of the Supreme Court of 2007 prevailed, in a similar case. Then, the magistrates considered that "it was not yet the right moment", for a change of this nature. His colleagues in Limburg argue that "it is time to recognize the possibility of a third gender given the social and legal evolution operated".

"It is time to recognize a third gender," the court said in a statement, adding that "now it is the turn of the legislators" to consider developing a bill that would formalize a neutral gender. Transgender activists see the ruling as a huge step for Dutch legislation. "You can say that this is something revolutionary within the framework of Dutch family law," said Brand Berghouwer, of the Netherlands Transgender Network, in a statement.

The decision has been applauded by the Dutch LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) collective, which calls it a "step in the right direction". The Dutch branch of the international foundation that advocates for the rights of intersexes also underlines their contentment. Regrets, yes, "that the ruling is only valid in the field of intersexuality; any Dutchman should have this option," they say. Article 1 of the Dutch Constitution "prohibits discrimination based on religion, political opinion, race, sex or any other reason". In 2017, the new center-right government announced its desire to add an additional provision to the Magna Carta, "to specifically prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation." The plan added multiple paternity allowing children to have more than two parents. Both issues are sensitive for the confessional parties, one of which, the Protestant Christen Unie, is part of the coalition in power. They are against, but they promised not to torpedo the future voting on the subject.