In an effort to be more inclusive, Germany is offering a third gender option to its parents who have children born with genatalia that’s deemed ambiguous. In other words, should a newborn baby boy or girl be born in a manner that’s not easily identifiable as male or female, they will no longer be forced to have to declare so on the child’s birth certificate.
This new law will go into effect in November, and was created in an effort to fight discrimination.
Instead of the typical mandated pressure to have to choose a sex for one’s baby, despite 1 in 2000 children being born as neither a boy or a girl (some children have both sexual organs), this new law will give parents the option to hold off on determining the baby’s sex until later in life.
And, should a parent so choose, the baby’s gender can now be never fully determined, as the birth certificate will read as “unknown” under the child’s sex.
In a historical context, a person both with ambiguous genatalia has often been referred to as a hermaphrodite.
Over the years, however, the word “hermaphrodite” has been seen as an ugly and often stigmatizing word. Now, the word some prefer to use is “intersex.”
When this law goes into effect in Germany, it won’t be the only place on earth where this has already occurred. In places like Nepal and Australia, parents have the options of putting “male,” “female,” or “third gender” on their child’s birth certificate.
For more on the third gender option story, please return to this column.