Germany’s parliament has voted to recognise a third gender for government documents, meaning that citizens can now be recognised in the European country as male, female, or diverse.
The change in law came late Thursday night and follows a 2017 court ruling which required the German government to either allow a third gender or to scrap gender classification altogether.
Germany is the first country in Europe, therefore, to allow parents to declare their children as ‘divers’ (diverse) from birth. The 2017 court case which brought the change was heard at the Karlsruhe constitutional court and concerned a complainant who had been proven to have no chromosomal sex from birth but was nevertheless registered female.
The court ruled a refusal to allow the individual to have their gender changed to a third gender was discriminatory and unconstitutional.
This was followed by the government cabinet agreeing in November 2018 that the new term to adopt would be divers, rather than other mooted alternatives such as inter or various. Deutsche Welle reported at the time that intersex births — where the child has an X chromosome but not XX or XY, results in approximately one in 2,000 births.
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