Germany’s Parliament has approved a third gender. Now citizens of the European country can identify as male, female or “diverse.”
The decision came late Thursday night and follows a 2017 court ruling that determined the country must create a third gender option for those who identify as neither male nor female. In the ruling, the high court claimed the binary designations violate citizens’ right to privacy.
Overnight, Germany became the first country in Europe to allow parents to declare their children “diverse” from birth. Citizens are also free to change their sexual identity at any time, if they feel the identity they were assigned at birth is incorrect.
Why is there still controversy, then?
However, even with the change, there is still a lot of disagreement over how people should be able to attain their sexual descriptors.
The new law, as it stands right now, requires medical personnel to certify the validity of the change.
Some groups, including the Lesbian and Gay Association of Germany, have pushed back against the medical stipulations.
“Gender cannot be determined solely by physical characteristics, but is also determined by social and psychological factors,” argued board member Henny Engels.
And while the group Third Option described the parliamentary decision as a “major step with regard to visibility and legal equality,” the advocacy campaign urged lawmakers to drop the medical approval clause.
Where did the controversy come from?
Germany boasts around 160,000 citizens “of indeterminate gender,” according to the Daily Mail.
During a three-year case, which ended last November, when Germany’s high court ruled binary sexual markers unconstitutional, the plaintiff provided a genetic analysis showing one X chromosome but no second chromosome. Women have two X chromosomes, while men have one X and one Y chromosome.
While some of these changes had already been implemented around Germany, it required parliament’s approval before it could become official.