As of November 1, 2013, Germany will become the first European country to allow babies to be born without a registered gender.
The twist: only babies born with characteristics of both sexes are eligible to be registered as such. The parents of the newborn baby are given the option of leaving the gender field as “X” on the birth certificate. Prior to this decision, the medical staff would assign the newborn a gender, or in at least one case, a doctor going a step further and surgically assigning gender from birth without consent.
German lawmakers have not clarified how this change will affect marriage and partnership laws nor gender identity rights of intersex adults. “It is an absolute must that parents, teachers and doctors be educated about the lives of intersex people,” said Lucie Veith, head of an intersex support group in Germany. Without proper education about gender and sexual rights or of the individuals affected by these rights and the lack of these rights, human beings are suffering, according to Veith.
Hypospadias Repair or masculinizing surgeries, castration and vaginoplasty surgeries performed on intersex newborns are mostly irreversible. The newborn receiving the surgery can give no consent to these surgeries and can be dissatisfied with the results when they become of age.
Doctors and medical experts argue that immediate surgery is required in order to give the newborn a well-adjusted life with the gender that they choose later in life. Doctors would make these decisions without the consent of the parents. These surgeries resulted in psychological pain, physical scarring, loss of sexual sensations and infections.
“A survey carried out by the German Ethics Council in 2009 found that intersex people were deeply set against both surgery and hormonal balancing before they had reached an age of understanding and consent. The 2009 European Commission report detailed that “many intersex adults are angry that surgery was performed upon them as young children,” Sophie Pilgrim of France24 explained in her article “Germany leads Europe in legalizing ‘third gender’”.
It’s believed gender “X” children have a high risk of discrimination from legal marriage and partnership rights to deciding which restroom to use. The law for Germany is a step forward in the intersex cause, but a lot more still needs to be done according to advocates.