A new third gender option will allow birth certificates to account for children who are born with indeterminate gender in Germany, making it the first country in Europe to recognize that not all newborns are clearly male or female, UPI reported Aug. 23.
The so-called third gender option will make birth certificates in Germany have a space to mark a newborn as either female, male or blank. The third gender option begins on Nov. 1.
In some rare cases, babies are born without a clear gender. In the past, though, birth certificates required doctors to state whether these children were male or female, effectively assigning them a gender — a gender that they may eventually decide they don’t want. This birth certificate requirement led to the possibility of gender identity issues later in life.
Now the new third gender option will allow people to choose their own sex later in life by being identified on birth certificates as “blank.”
The third gender option isn’t without critics, though. The Huffington Post noted, for instance, that not having an assigned gender at birth could create legal headaches on paperwork, such as travel documents like passports.
While Germany might be the first country in Europe to offer a third gender option, Australia was the first country in the entire world to introduce legal guidelines for gender recognition, UPI said.