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Germany: Birth certificates no longer have to indicate gender

Move raises questions about marriage and civil-partnership laws: report

Germany now allows parents to leave gender field on their children's birth certificates blank. Credit: wikimedia.org

Germany is giving parents of newborns the option of leaving the gender field on birth certificates blank, Agence France-Presse (AFP)  reports.

According to the report, the change, which came into effect Nov 1, is an acknowledgment that there are people who are born with characteristics of both sexes.

Pink News adds that the change would allow people to decide in their own time whether they identify as male, female or prefer another or no designation. 

AFP quotes a University of Bremen professor as saying that the law now recognizes there are people who "do not fit into the traditional legal categories." Konstanze Plett, described as a specialist in intersex people's rights, says other official documents will eventually need to reflect the change.

AFP says the country's interior ministry issued a statement saying German passports will soon include an "X" designation in the gender field.

While some are raising questions about the repercussions the move will have on Germany's marriage and civil-partnership laws, intersex advocates point out that changes in documents don't translate into a more easily navigable environment for those not adhering to the gender binary, citing spaces like bathrooms and the arena of sports that are demarcated male or female.