Netherlands allows person to identify as non-binary for the first time
The anonymous plaintiff will now be given a new birth certificate which indicates that they have “no determined sex.”
The recipient of the decision, who was born in 1961, was originally registered as male by their parents because it was “easier for the child,” according to Dutch News.
They changed their legal gender to female in 2001, but were forced to go to court when they realised that they did not identify as either binary gender.
It has been possible since 1993 to write on a birth certificate that a child’s gender can not be determined, but this possibility has not existed for people past the point of their birth.
The ruling – which was handed down on Monday by a family court in Limburg, in the south of the country – may not contain the best phrasing in terms of the way the plaintiff must officially display their gender, but it is still a landmark moment in the struggle for non-binary equality.
It means that a change in national legislation is now on the cards, and shows how far the country has come in the 11 years since the Supreme Court of the Netherlands ruled against a plaintiff who brought a similar case.
The court in Limburg was told that the Netherlands had changed, both socially and legislatively, pointing for example to the nationwide increase in gender-neutral toilets and the fact that Dutch train service Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) now addresses its customers as “passengers” instead of “ladies and gentlemen.”
A non-binary person being forced to define themselves as male or female conflicted with their right to self-determination, autonomy and a private life, the court added.
And it stated that a person should be able to legally self-identify their gender.
Last week, a court judgment meant that from now on, the government of Saskatchewan in Canada will allow birth certificates without a gender marker.
Canada also made its anthem gender-neutral earlier this year.
In 2017, a Canadian baby became the first in the country to be officially identified as not having a gender.
Searyl Atli Doty – Sea for short – got their national health card with a “U” entered in the sex category, months into a legal battle that their parent is still fighting.
Kori Doty, a trans non-binary parent, appealed against the Vital Statistics Agency’s decision to refuse Sea a birth certificate.
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Because Sea was born outside of the medical system, there was no official genital inspection at the birth in British Columbia.
“I do not gender my child,” Doty said.
“It is up to Searyl to decide how they identify, when they are old enough to develop their own gender identity.
“I am not going to foreclose their choices based on an arbitrary assignment of gender at birth based on an inspection of their genitals.”