Sunday, November 10, 2013

Germany Allows 'Indeterminate' Gender at Birth

News Brief by Kanika Kamal

Germany has recently become the first country to allow newborn babies with both sexual traits to identify as neither male nor female. Instead, parents can leave the gender section on birth certificates blank, thus identifying the baby as having an “indeterminate sex,” or intersex. In the past, parents had to immediately choose which sex they wanted their babies to be so the babies could be registered. This often lead to unhappiness in many children later on who were forced to be a certain sex and now feel neither here nor there. With this new law, parents can avoid making quick, unthoughtful decisions that may negatively affect their child's life.

To accommodate intersex individuals, german passports will start having the option for gender “X,” along with M and F. It is unclear, however, how this new law will affect German marriage laws. The IGLA-Europe, a group for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, and intersex rights, asserts that the law needs to be further developed in order to address this question appropriately. Nonetheless, this step is a major stride for Germany.

Although Germany is the first country to pass a set legislation on this topic, some other countries are following close behind. For example, Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, and Pakistan have all begun to include a third sex option on either passports, identity cards, or voter registrations. It is only a matter of time before more countries follow Germany’s lead.

Reference: Germany allows 'indeterminate' gender at birth. (2013, November 1). BBC News. Retrieved November 1, 2013, from

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