German citizens who are ‘intersex’ – people who do not fit biologically as either male or female – will be able to chose a ‘third gender option on official documents as of today, January 1.
The German government in August voted to introduce the third category of ‘various’, alongside male and female, on birth certificates and other documents.
Both chambers of parliament approved the new law, with the Bundesrat upper house giving its backing last month.
As of January 1, German citizens who are ‘intersex’, and do not fit biologically as either male or female, will be able to chose a ‘third gender option on official documents
But LGBT campaigners say the measure does not go far enough, as it requires a doctor’s certificate ‘proving’ a person is intersex.
They want new laws to make it easier for people who do not identify with the gender they were born with to change it on official documents.
The introduction of the new category came after the Federal Constitutional Court called on lawmakers to enact legislation to either introduce a third category or dispense with gender altogether in official documents.
The ruling followed a court appeal brought by an intersex adult and said that courts and state authorities should no longer compel intersex people to choose between identifying as male or female.
Intersex people are born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies.
This can mean being born with both male and female genitalia, or have both XX and XY chromosomes in their cells.
For some intersex people, their condition is discovered at birth, but for others it is not discovered until puberty or when the person faces fertility issues as an adult.