Dutch media personality Emile Ratelband has lost his legal attempt to lower his age by 20 years, which he compared to transgender people’s civil rights struggle.
Ratelband, 69, asked 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?”
“If Mr Ratelband’s request was allowed, age requirements would become meaningless”
— Arnhem court’s judgment
The judgment found there was “no scope in legislation or case law to allow such a ruling.”
Ratelband, who is also an author, public speaker and positivity trainer, wanted to move his birth date from March 1949 to March 1969 in order to improve his prospects on dating app Tinder and match what prosecutors called his “emotional age.”
Why did the court reject Emile Ratelband’s lawsuit?
In its judgment, the court explained that it “did not find any reason in Mr Ratelband’s arguments to create new case law in line with the statutory provisions on changes to a person’s officially registered name or gender.
“Its main reason was that, unlike the situation with respect to a change in registered name or gender, there are a variety of rights and duties related to age, such as the right to vote and the duty to attend school.
“If Mr Ratelband’s request was allowed, those age requirements would become meaningless.”
The judgment stated that Ratelband was already protected from discrimination on the basis of age by established law.
It found that the media personality “had other alternatives available for challenging age discrimination” rather than reducing his legal age.
Ratelband also “failed to sufficiently substantiate his claim that he suffers from age discrimination” according to the court.
The judgment concluded that Ratelband was “at liberty to feel 20 years younger than his real age and to act accordingly,” but that erasing two decades would cause “a variety of undesirable legal and societal implications.”
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Why did Emile Ratelband want to change his age?
Ratelband said that his birth certificate was mistaken when it came to how he felt, telling the court that his legal challenge was “really a question of free will.”
He explained: “When I’m 69, I am limited. 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 questioned in court about his childhood.
“Who were your parents looking after then? Who was that little boy?” said the judge.
In response, Ratelband said that as his parents were dead, they would not be offended by his change of birth year.