Germany has become the first European country to allow parents to choose to not classify their children as male or female.
Under the new rules, parents of children who do not have clearly defined sexual characteristics can opt to leave their offspring’s gender blank.
This aims to help parents avoid making potentially irreversible surgical or other gender decisions for intersex children at birth.
LGBTI activists believe that these individuals should be allowed to make their own decisions when they are old enough to do so.
“This will be the first time that the law acknowledges that there are human beings who are neither male nor female, or are both — people who do not fit into the traditional legal categories,” University of Bremen law professor Konstanze Plett told AFP.
The law was passed in August but came into effect today.
Adult intersex Germans will also soon be able to choose an alternative sex in their identity documents.
Instead of male or female they’ll be able to opt for “X,” in effect a third sex.
Intersex is a term used for people who are born with external genitalia, chromosomes, or internal reproductive systems that are not traditionally associated with either a “standard” male or female.
The Intersex Society of North America estimates that around one percent of births exhibit some degree of sexual ambiguity.
According to Wikipedia, “research in the late 20th century has led to a growing medical consensus that diverse intersex bodies are normal—if relatively rare—forms of human biology”.