• Germany edition
 
German law change to 'recognize third sex'
Statue of Greek God Hermaphroditus in the Louvre. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

German law change to 'recognize third sex'

Published: 16 Aug 2013 11:48 GMT+02:00
Updated: 16 Aug 2013 11:48 GMT+02:00

The Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Friday that a change due to come into effect in November would give legal recognition to the fact that intersexual people were not clearly either male or female.

Although the law change stops short of actually creating a third sex, it will allow birth certificates to be left blank and for those concerned to make a decision later whether to identify as male, female or neither.

"If the child cannot be identified as female or male, the personal gender is to be left blank and to be so entered into the births register," the new law due to take effect in November states, the Süddeutsche Zeitung said.

This small but crucial difference in the law will have knock-on effects in a whole range of other registration rules such as those for ID cards and passports, the paper said. Currently passports have to carry an F for female or an M for male.

Having nothing could create difficulties for intersexual people travelling to some countries, the Magazine for Family Law (FamRZ) said, suggesting that an X be used, as was decided in Australia earlier this year.

The background to the German law change is a ruling from the Federal Constitutional Court which said the "deeply felt and lived" gender was a function of personal rights and must apply to unclear gender.

The new law will apply to intersexuals, or hermaphrodites - people born with gender-indeterminate bodies, rather than transsexuals, who are born with a specific sex but feel they are members of the other gender.

Brussels-based lawyer Wolf Sieberich told the FamRZ transsexuals should also get the right to determine their own legally recognized gender.

Marriage law may also have to be altered as a result he said. Currently a marriage in Germany is only allowed between a man and a woman and a legally recognized life partnership is allowed for members of the same gender. Sieberich questioned what that would mean for someone whose gender is not specified.

Justice Minister Sabine Leuthheusser-Schnarrenberger told the Süddeutsche Zeitung “comprehensive reform" would be necessary.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
UN climate talks shuffle to a close in Bonn
Photo: DPA

UN climate talks shuffle to a close in Bonn

Concern was high at a perceived lack of urgency as UN climate negotiations shuffled towards a close in Bonn on Saturday with just 14 months left to finalise a new, global pact. READ  

Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling
Italy's National Partisans' Association welcomed the court decision. Photo: DPA

Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling

Italy's constitutional court has ruled that victims of Nazi-era war crimes can sue Germany in Italian courts, rejecting a UN ruling and provoking a strong reaction from Berlin on Friday. READ  

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall
Photo: Paul Sullivan

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall

Two expats who walked the Mauerweg - the 160-kilometre trail that runs the length of the former Berlin Wall - have written a book about forgotten aspects of its past and present. READ  

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat
Photo: DPA

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat

Germany's biggest department store chain Karstadt will close at least six stores, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk, in a drastic bid by its new boss to return it to profit. READ  

Quiz
How well do you know Germany?
Photos: DPA/Shutterstock

How well do you know Germany?

Do you know your Saxony facts from your Saxony-Anhalt ones? Test your knowledge of Germany's federal states in The Local's quiz. READ  

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal
Pollution from a coal-fired power station in Frimmersdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal

The UN's climate chief hailed a European agreement in Bonn on greenhouse gases on Friday as providing "valuable momentum" for a world pact to be inked in Paris next year. READ  

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth
Photo: DPA

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth

Germany will get an early Christmas present of around €779 million from the EU, thanks to weaker than expected GDP growth. READ  

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told
Photo: DPA

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told

It will take several days to find out what caused a massive explosion on Thursday which rocked a town on the Rhine, killing a builder and injuring 26 others. READ  

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'
An NH90 helicopter. Photo: DPA

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'

Germany's fleet of NH90 helicopters is undergoing engineering checks after one of them suffered a serious engine failure, in the latest blow to the country's military capabilities. READ  

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m
Rainer Schwarz at a court hearing in September into the case. Photo: DPA

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m

The man who was blamed for Berlin's miserable attempt to build a new airport must be paid more than €1 million - after being fired. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Politics
Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: Huge explosion rocks Ludwigshafen
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
Which high school cliche is your German city?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Storm hits southern Germany
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,522
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd