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Germany has been making a number of huge strides for the LGBTQ community recently. Last month, Germany saw the first same-sex marriages in the country. Earlier this year, Germany pardoned the 50,000 men who had been convicted of homosexuality before the law had been repealed in 1994. And now, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that Germany must either include an option for a third gender or remove gender from public documents.
The ruling says that lawmakers have until the end of 2018 to figure out how to implement a third gender category for intersex people and people who don’t identify as male or female. The Court ruled that the binary gender designations violated citizens’ right to privacy.
While Germany will soon recognize a third gender, they’re not the only country in the world to do so. Australia, Bangladesh, India, Malta, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan and, as of June, Canada allow that as an option on passports and ID cards. Similarly, Thailand recognizes a third gender in its Constitution. However, Thai government documents still only allow people to choose male or female.
In the United States, we’re beginning to see states embrace gender-neutral options as well. In Oregon, California and the District of Columbia, citizens can get an “X” on their ID cards instead of the traditional “M” or “F.”
More than one-third of trans people identify as non-binary (also known as “NB” or “enby”). And one-third of trans people have also said they were harassed or assaulted for their gender presentation not matching their ID. According to Lambda Legal:
Presenting an identification document that does not accurately reflect one’s sex and is inconsistent with one’s gender identity can trigger invasions of privacy, prejudice, stigma, violence and discrimination and harassment in a wide variety of settings, including in employment, education, public accommodations, health care, housing and interactions with the government, including with law enforcement.
We’re glad that governments around the world are beginning to realize gender is a social construct.
Featured image by Ranta Images via iStock