The year is up to a good start for Intersex persons in Germany. The government of Germany has adopted a new law enabling intersex people to legally identify themselves as such.
According to the Intersex Society of North America, “Intersex” is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.
Intersex people are born with both male and female sex characteristics, which can appear at birth or later in life, the BBC adds.
According to the United Nations, up to 1.7% of the world’s population are born with intersex traits.
Instinct magazine reports that Historically, intersex people have faced stigma, discrimination, and even forced “corrective” surgery in order for them to appear either male or female. By allowing intersex people to identify as such, Germany took the first step in decreasing the stigma surrounding intersex identities, which will hopefully stop the discrimination altogether.
But this is not the first time Germany is addressing Intersex identities.
In 2013, Intersex persons in Germany had the option of leaving the sex classification blank on the birth registry but advocates said this was not enough.
According to Bustle, In November 2017, Germany’s constitutional court ruled that lawmakers must recognize a third sex from birth, arguing that providing only the binary “male” and “female” options is unconstitutional.
German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, reports that roughly 80,000 people in Germany are intersex.
The law change in Germany was approved in December to take effect from the 1st of January.
Advocates have heralded Germany’s new law as progress, but are urging the country to go further by abolishing gender registration altogether, in order to be more inclusive of all genders and gender identities.