Parents in Germany will no longer have to designate their children either male or female on birth certificates.
As of Nov. 1, if the sex of an infant is not clearly identifiable at birth, the baby can be designated at “third gender.” The amendment to the Civil Status law is meant to accommodate intersexual children – not transsexuals. Intersexuals, also known as hermaphrodites, are born with both male and female sex organs.
Silvan Agius, policy director at the Europeans branch of The International Lesbian and Gay Association, told Spiegel newspaper that Germany’s decision will push the rest of the EU to do the same.
"Germany's move will put more pressure on Brussels," Agius said. "That can only be a good thing."
No one can predict physical development, gender identity, or sexual orientation of a person born with both male and female reproductive organs. Designating a gender for an intersexual baby could mean saddling them with a label they may never identify with.
The change will have an effect of Germany’s marriage laws. There aren’t any laws in place that recognize marriages with or between third gender people. Right now, same sex couples can enter civil partnership with all the tax benefits of marriage, but they can’t legally marry.
The measure will require “comprehensive reform” of all state-issued documents, said Justice Minister Sabine Leuthheusser-Schnarrenberger.
Since 2011, Australian citizens have been allowed to mark their passports as X. In 2012, New Zealand passed a similar measure. Advocates say the measure cracked down on transsexual discrimination and discrimination against those of an indeterminate gender.