Germany Permits A Third Gender Option For Birth Certificates
It's the first European country to allow parents to specify "X," giving them time to decide whether to have their child undergo sex-reassignment surgery. Some say the new law doesn't go far enough to address issues faced by intersex adults.
Germany has become the first country in Europe to recognize a third gender option for people who were born with both male and female characteristics. Parents can now specify “X” in the gender box on their baby’s birth certificate, relieving them of the pressure to choose “M” or “F” in order for the baby to be officially registered. The law also permits adults who categorize themselves as intersex to put “X” on their passports.
What’s the Big Idea?
An intersex gender option has been available in Australia, New Zealand, and several Asian countries for some time. Germany finally passed the law after legislators heard cases involving the trauma experienced by intersex adults, some of whom were subjected to sex-assignment surgery against their will as children. LGBT advocate Silvan Agius says the law needs to go further because “it does not address the surgeries and the medicalisation of intersex people…[T]hat has to change.” It’s also not clear how the new gender option will affect laws regarding marriage, which is reserved for male-female couples, and civil partnership, the designation given to same-sex couples.
Gardiner’s life-long immersion in Bach’s music—as performer and conductor, rather than as academic analyst—qualifies him perhaps better than anyone else alive today to recreate what it was to be the living, breathing, human Bach.