Posts Tagged ‘ Germany ’

What if It’s Not a Boy or Girl, But Intersex?

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

intersex-gender-on-birth-certificateTrue fact: Starting in November, parents in Germany can leave the gender of their baby blank on their birth certificate. For most of us, the only thing we’re worried about deciding on for our baby’s birth certificate is the name. But what if you weren’t sure of your baby’s sex? When babies are born, they don’t all fall easily into the category of boy or girl. Some are what are called “intersex”—that’s when a child is born looking like one sex, but possesses the genitalia or reproductive anatomy of the other, or in some cases they have both boy and girl parts. When an intersex child is born (experts say that roughly one out of every 1,500 babies is born with genitals that cannot be easily categorized as male or female), it has traditionally been left up to the doctor to decide which sex should be chosen on the birth certificate, which can lead to possible problems with gender dysphoria and general confusion later in life.

Germany is the first country to add a law that adds a third sex option to birth certificates to account for intersex babies. The law also states that these children, who’ve been marked “blank” at birth can go on to decide later in life whether they believe their gender should be identified as male, female or if it should remain blank. Though this might be seen as controversial among some here in the U.S., Germany is not alone in seeing a need for another option besides male or female. Australia and New Zealand allow citizens to select x for their gender on passports rather than to make people choose between the two when in some ways they fall into both categories.

TELL US: Do you think parents should leave a baby’s gender blank, if it is intersex and has both male and female characteristics? Or will not having a clear gender identity early on hurt them rather than help them later in life?

Image of baby shoes courtesy of Shutterstock.

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