A Dutch citizen for the first time won the right to register as neither a male nor a female, with judges urging lawmakers to recognise a ‘third gender’.
The Limburg District Court in Roermond ruled that the unnamed plaintiff can now be recorded in the Dutch birth register as ‘gender undetermined’ as opposed to male or female.
‘At birth in 1961, this person’s gender could not be determined and the parents decided to register the person as male, to make things easier at the time,’ the judges said.
The plaintiff then in 2001 had an operation to and change their gender to female.
The Limburg District Court in Roermond (pictured)ruled that the unnamed plaintiff can now be recorded in the Dutch birth register as ‘gender undetermined’ as opposed to male or female
‘Eventually it also turned out that the female gender did not fit the person, whose personality is experienced as gender-neutral, feeling neither like a man nor a woman,’ the court said.
The plaintiff then asked authorities to include a third, gender-neutral entry in the birth register.
A similar request by a different person was turned down in 2007 by the Netherlands’ highest court, the High Council.
But due to ‘social and legal developments, the time is ripe for the recognition of a third gender,’ the judges said.
An example was that Dutch railway NS now addresses travellers as ‘passengers’ rather than ‘ladies and gentlemen’ and added gender-neutral toilets.
The judges ruled that someone not being able to describe themselves as ‘of undetermined gender’ denied them a right to a private life, self determination and autonomy.
Dutch railway NS now addresses travellers as ‘passengers’ rather than ‘ladies and gentlemen’ and added gender-neutral toilets
The court called on the Dutch parliament to enact laws that would allow citizens to easily label themselves as having no gender on legal documents.
‘To enable the registration of a third gender ‘X’, a legal amendment is crucial. It’s now up to the lawmakers,’ the judges said.
Meanwhile ‘the court rules in favour of changing the person’s gender in the birth register to ‘gender could not be determined’.’
Activists hailed the ruling, saying it was another step towards recognising the rights of Dutch transgender people, of about 0.2 to 2.0 percent of the country’s 17 million people.