Man sues to lower age because ‘you can change your gender’
A 69-year-old Dutch media personality is trying to legally reduce his age by 20 years, comparing his campaign to the struggle for transgender rights.
Emile Ratelband, 69, wants to change his birth date from March 1949 to March 1969 to improve his prospects on dating app Tinder and match what prosecutors are calling his “emotional age,” according to Dutch news outlet Algemeen Dagblad.
The author, public speaker and media personality told the court in Arnhem: “We live in a time when you can change your name and change your gender. Why can’t I decide my own age?” according to BBC News.
He told the court that his legal battle was “really a question of free will.”
Ratelband said that he “suffers” because of his age, especially in terms of work prospects and on Tinder.
“It is really a question of free will.”
“When I’m 69, I am limited,” said Ratelband. “If I’m 49, then I can buy a new house, drive a different car. I can take up more work.
“When I’m on Tinder and it says I’m 69, I don’t get an answer. When I’m 49, with the face I have, I will be in a luxurious position.”
According to his biography on the Ratelband Research Institute website, he is in “a steady relationship with the woman of his dreams.”
The site also states that Ratelband’s “age focus is to turn at least 94 years old and to then leave this world healthy and with pleasure.”
The court heard that Ratelband, who also voiced villain Vladimir Trunkov in the Dutch language edition of Pixar’s Cars 2, would give up his pension if he won the case because it “makes me feel like I’m finished.”
The author, who described himself to the court as a “young god” and said a doctor had told him he had the body of a 45 year old, was asked by the judge about his childhood.
“Who were your parents looking after then? Who was that little boy?” asked the judge during the 45-minute court session.
In response, Ratelband said that as his parents were dead, they would not be offended by his change of birth year.
He is expected to receive a verdict in the next four weeks.
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Has there ever been a case like this?
Ratelband’s legal challenge is similar in some ways to the lawsuits brought by prolific anti-LGBT activist Chris Sevier, who has repeatedly failed to marry his laptop.
Sevier filed a challenge to Utah’s marriage laws after he was denied the right to marry his MacBook, claiming there was no impediment to him doing so after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of same-sex marriage in 2015.
The US District Court for the District of Utah ruled against him in March after the state filed a defence pointing out that his laptop was under the legal age of consent for marriage in Utah, which is 15.