Germany’s top court has ruled that there must be the option of registering a third gender on birth certificates.

It would make Germany the first European country to offer intersex people the choice of identifying as neither male nor female.

The constitutional court in Karlsruhe has given the government until the end of 2018 to pass a law specifying a category other than male or female. It said current regulations on civil status were discriminatory against intersex people.

The category could be called “inter” or “various”.

The option of selecting “blank,” in addition to the standard choices of “male” or female” on birth certificates will become available in Germany from November. The legislative change allows parents to opt out of determining their baby’s gender, thereby allowing those born with characteristics of both sexes to choose whether to become male or female in later life. Under the new law, individuals can also opt to remain outside the gender binary altogether.

 

The activist group Third Option was bursting with joy over the ruling.

“We are completely overwhelmed and speechless. That’s a small revolution in the gender area,” it said on Twitter.

 

However, between 0.05 and 1.7 percent of the global population is intersex, which is extremely low and leaves questions over whether the move is truly about equality, or whether the move is merely to do with an obsession about political correctness.

 

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