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Germany Becomes First European Nation to Recognize “Unidentified” Gender

Update Date: Nov 01, 2013 02:18 PM EDT
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Every year, around one in 2,000 infants are born intersex, which means that the infant has ambiguous genitalia. Since these children have a variation in their sexual traits, which can range from chromosomes to gonads and genitals that make gender classification difficult, parents are often pressured to pick one gender when filling out a birth certificate. Starting today in Germany, however, parents can select "unspecified" or "undetermined" for their intersex children.

Germany is the first European nation to recognize this third gender. Currently the other two countries that have already identified this third gender specification are Australia and Nepali. The introduction of this third gender will allow parents the time to decide which gender category their children belong to. They will no longer have to be pressured to put their children through sex change surgery immediately after birth. By providing extra time, intersex children can grow up with their own desired identities. Some intersex children whose gender was decided for them have stated that they feel like they were cheated and belonged to the other gender or to no gender at all.

One intersex individual had told BBC News, "I am neither a man nor a woman. I will remain the patchwork created by doctors, bruised and scarred."

"Some people have life-endangering conditions that require surgery, but most kids do not," Dr. Jack Drescher, a New York City psychiatrist said according to ABC News. "You can make a gender assignment without surgery, and then see how identity develops. The science of knowing how a child will develop any gender identity is not very accurate. ... Nobody can answer the questions about why this happens. It's like the mystery of why people are gay."

According to a report that was filed in 2011 to the European Commission, intersex people were described as:

"...differ[ent] from trans [sexual or gender] people, as their status is not gender related but instead relates to their biological makeup (genetic, hormonal and physical features), which is neither exclusively male nor exclusively female, but is typical of both at once or not clearly defined as either. These features can manifest themselves in secondary sexual characteristics, such as muscle mass, hair distribution, breasts and stature; primary sexual characteristics such as reproductive organs and genitalia; or in chromosomal structures and hormones."

German people can now put "M" for male, "F" for female, or "X" for unspecified on their passports. 

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