German birth certificates get new 'indeterminate' sex option

The law, which went into effect Friday, allows new parents to choose neither male nor female for their babies' birth certificates. It essentially creates an indeterminate sex category. (Via The Independent)

The new law is intended to take pressure off parents to choose either male or female for intersex children — a decision that often leads to sex-reassignment surgery. (Via Daily Mirror)

"They all basically have attributes of men and attributes of women. And the difficulties being that the authorities clearly tell the parents, 'You have to decide.'" (Via BBC)

According to German case studies, those decisions sometimes lead to unhappy adults. Some feel trapped in the wrong body.

Quoted by Fox News, one patient said: "I am neither a man nor a woman. I will remain the patchwork created by doctors, bruised and scarred."

"At two and a half months they castrated me, they threw my testicles in the garbage bin. They always lied to me." (Via Al Jazeera)

Experts estimate 1 in 2,000 German children is born intersex. Some think the move doesn’t go far enough to protect those children.

The Daily Mail quotes the policy director of a European LGBTQ rights group who says despite the law, "unnecessary surgeries will likely continue in Germany with devastating consequences. ... We live in a world where having a baby classified as 'other' is still considered undesirable."

It also throws into question the state of marriages in Germany, where marriage is permitted between a man and a woman, and civil partnerships are allowed for same-sex couples.

Other countries have passed similar laws in the past. As NPR reports, Australia allowed citizens to identify themselves as intersex earlier this year, and India and Pakistan afforded intersex citizens new rights in 2009.

The German law does not require an intersex person to choose a gender or undergo sex-assignment surgery at any point in life. Germany is the first European country to bypass the selection of a gender at birth.

- See more at