Germany’s top court ordered lawmakers Wednesday to create a third gender option in the registry of births.
The landmark ruling from the Federal Constitutional Court could make Germany the first European country to impose a third gender option in its registry. People have been allowed to leave the gender box blank since 2013, but advocates have fought for an “intersex” option after a girl brought the issue to court.
The court considered scrapping genders altogether before adding an option. The ruling reverses decisions from several lower courts.
Lawmakers must approve new legislation by the end of next year. The court said “intersex,” “diverse” or another “positive designation of sex” are examples of what the new designation can be named.
“Assignment to a gender is of paramount importance for individual identity; it typically plays a key role both in the self-image of a person and in the way in which the person concerned is perceived by others. The gender identity of those persons who are neither male nor female is protected,” the court said in its ruling.
Authorities should not force people to choose between male or female while the new legislation is created, according to the court.
Activist group “Third Option” described the ruling as a “small revolution.”
“We are completely overwhelmed and speechless. That’s a small revolution in the gender area,” the group said in a tweet.
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