A court in the Netherlands has said a third gender should be enshrined in law in a ground-breaking ruling for people who do not identify as either male or female.
The Limburg District Court in the city of Roermond decided an unnamed applicant could be recorded on their birth register as “gender undetermined”.
Until now, Dutch citizens have had to be registered as either a man or woman.
“The time is ripe for the recognition of a third gender,” the judges said in a statement. “To enable the registration of a third gender ‘X’, a legal amendment is crucial. It’s now up to the lawmakers.”
The case came after the applicant was registered as male at birth in 1961 but had treatment to become a woman in 2001. They later decided they felt “neither like a man or woman” and asked authorities to include a third, gender-neutral entry in the birth register. It was this that was agreed in court on Monday.
A similar request by a different person was turned down in 2007 by the Netherlands’ highest court, the High Council.
But transgender activists hailed the new ruling as a momentous step in Dutch law – and for European rights.
“This can be called revolutionary within Dutch family law,” Brand Berghouwer of the Netherlands’ Transgender Network said in a statement.
A change in legislation would make the Netherlands one of a select group of countries where a third gender is officially recognised in law. Australia, Germany, Nepal, Bangladesh and India are among those that already provide a third option.