New German legislation will allow birth certificates to have a third option when asking about gender.
Germany is the first European country to officially recognize a third gender on official birth certificates, according to a new law that will go into effect on November 1st. From this date, parents can enter "male," "female" or just leave the space blank on a birth certificate application.
The new German law, then, makes it possible for parents, and even for the child, to make a determination of gender later in life. It also makes it possible for a child to decide in favor of reporting no gender at all. While the law is the first of its type in Europe, Australia has a similar law permitting the third "indeterminate" option. Nepal has also issued an option for a third gender on citizenship certificates.
The law was passed to help alleviate discrimination against transgender individuals. Every year, about 1 in 2,000 infants are born with "indeterminate sex," a condition in which sexual organs are not identifiable as male or female. In the past, surgeons would model organs to resemble a male or female, but the practice has started to fade out of failure. It is not known what causes this "indeterminate gender" at birth.