Germany has become the first country in Europe to recognise a third gender, after a ruling by the country’s highest court.
Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court ruled that people must be allowed to be entered in official records as neither male nor female. This means that authorities must either create a third identity or scrap gender entries altogether. The court ruled in the case of a person who had applied to have their entry in the birth register changed from ‘female’ to ‘inter/diverse’ or ‘diverse’. Officials rejected this on the grounds that the law only allows for children to be registered as male or female, or for the gender to be left blank.
The plaintiff, whose name was not released, argued that this was a violation of their personal rights. The court found that the law protects sexual identity, which has a ‘key position’ in how individuals perceive themselves and are perceived by others.
It said that ‘the sexual identity of those people who can be assigned neither to the male nor the female sex is also protected’, and said the constitution also protects them against discrimination because of their gender.