On 1st November this year, Germany will introduce a third gender option for assigning gender on birth certificates, where parents can choose to leave their child’s gender indeterminate. Instead of marking “M” or “F” on the birth certificate, parents can choose to leave their children’s gender option “blank”. The children can also choose their gender option later in life or choose to opt out of it entirely.
Germany will be the first country in Europe to introduce this policy, as other countries in the European Union have not focused much attention on this issue. Experts on the potential changes in European Union law have also found out that there is still a high level of discrimination against transsexuals and intersexuals around Europe, therefore other countries may not wish to impose this policy into their law and society.
On the surface, European countries seem to be more open-minded and susceptible to change, but certain countries have become even more conservative in the modern day. Recently Russia introduced an anti-gay law, where the LGBT community was forbidden to display their sexuality in public and it is now against the law for them to adopt children. If the mindset of European countries is going backwards, a third gender option supporting the minorities of the society may not be the top priority in policy change.
Although the concept of a third gender option is ideal and applicable to the currrent society, this may create problems for daily life in society. For example, passports still require citizens to choose a gender option of “M” or “F”. In terms of health care and other social benefits targeted for specific genders, this may also create confusion as to where citizens of indeterminate gender should be placed on the social policy scale.
Hopefully Germany’s new third gender policy will set a golden example for other countries and inspire them to change for the better and support the minorities of mainstream society. Even in the current society, law and social policy only cater to the heterosexuals and create prejudice against citizens with alternative sexual preferences.