The German government has officially added a third gender choice for people on federal documents.
Official records can now list a person as “male,” “female,” or “diverse,” following the approval of the third gender option by Germany’s Cabinet. The approval now puts the government in compliance with a court order which stated people should be allowed an additional gender option should they not identify as male or female.
Nearly ten months ago, in November, the Federal Constitutional Court ordered federal authorities to either create a third option or discard the gender classification altogether, ABC News reports.
[The Federal Constitutional Court] ruled on a case in which a plaintiff sought unsuccessfully to have their entry in the birth register changed from “female” to “inter/diverse” or “diverse.” Until now, the only other option was to leave the gender blank.
The plaintiff provided courts with a genetic analysis showing one X chromosome but no second sex chromosome. Women have two X chromosomes, while men have one X and one Y chromosome. The court found that authorities could decide to do without any gender identity in civil registers or allow people in a similar situation to choose “another positive designation of their sex that is not male or female.”
Wednesday’s Cabinet decision to add a third gender option, “diverse,” to the register of births requires parliamentary approval.
The movement in Germany follows a successful effort to have a third gender recognized in the United States, by the state of California.
As the Hill reports, Democrat Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law last year which allows state residents to choose a gender option other than male or female on official documents:
The legislation, a top priority of civil rights groups, also makes it easier for transgender people to change their gender identification on birth certificates or driver’s licenses.
“The Gender Recognition Act will eliminate unnecessary stress and anxiety for many Californians, and it exemplifies the leadership role that our state continues to take in LGBTQ civil rights,” said state Sen. Toni Atkins (D), who authored the bill.
In California, the third gender option is referred to as “intersex.”
The new law also deleted the requirement that an applicant undergo treatment and submit a physician’s note before changing their gender identity. Now, applicants can submit their own letter notifying the government of the change. Here’s more:
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.
California is the first state to allow a nonbinary gender identification on birth certificates. Oregon and Washington, D.C., also allow residents to identify themselves as something other than male or female on their driver’s licenses. A similar measure is pending in New York.