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Dutch court ruling takes step towards gender-neutrality

News Desk

Agence France-Presse

The Hague, Netherlands  /  Tue, May 29, 2018  /  08:11 am
Dutch court ruling takes step towards gender-neutrality

Activists hailed the ruling, saying it was another step towards recognizing the rights of the Dutch transgender population, estimated to be between 0.2 to 2.0 percent of the country's 17 million people. (Shutterstock/Sakaekrung)

A Dutch citizen on Monday won the right for the first time to be allowed to register as neither a man nor a woman, with judges urging lawmakers to recognize a "third gender".

The Limburg District Court in Roermond ruled that the unnamed plaintiff can now be recorded in the Dutch birth register as "gender undetermined" as opposed to male or female.

"At birth in 1961, this person's gender could not be determined and the parents decided to register the person as male, to make things easier at the time," the court said in a statement.

Read also: Federal judge urges US to grant gender neutral passport

In 2001 however, the plaintiff underwent medical treatment and changed gender to female.

"Eventually it also turned out that the female gender did not fit the person, whose personality is experienced as gender-neutral," the court said, "feeling neither like a man nor a woman."

The plaintiff then asked authorities to include a third, gender-neutral entry in the birth register.

A similar request by a different person was turned down in 2007 by the Netherlands' highest court, the High Council.

But due to "social and legal developments, the time is ripe for the recognition of a third gender," the judges said.

"To enable the registration of a third gender "X", a legal amendment is crucial. It's now up to the lawmakers," they added.

Meanwhile "the court rules in favor of changing the person's gender in the birth register to 'gender could not be determined'," the judges said.

Activists hailed the ruling, saying it was another step towards recognizing the rights of the Dutch transgender population, estimated to be between 0.2 to 2.0 percent of the country's 17 million people.

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