Germany officially recognises a third gender

German parents are no longer required to choose a gender for their baby after birth. They can simply leave the space blank and opt to choose later on if they wish. The initiative will start in November this year. Although Germany is not as conservative as other European countries, this new law regarding intersex persons may still came as a surprise.

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Third gender babies and intersex people explained?

According to the Intersex Society of North America, around 1 in 2000 babies are born with intersex characteristics or gender ambiguities. Such characteristics can be visible or not, with some anomalies being only chromosomal. The numbers do vary from country to country, but third gender characteristics are more common now.

Having such third gender characteristics can affect hormone levels and sexual development. There was a recent scandal regarding intersex athletes such as the South African, Caster Semenya. The issue was that females who have elevated testosterone levels, in her case due to internal testes, should not be allowed to compete.

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What are intersex people saying about the new law?

The issue is that the law could be useful, but is it enough? Parents of third gender individuals choose surgery and medication for their children from a very young age. And they do so at the advice of doctors or sexual development experts. But such choices can profoundly affect a person’s physical and psychological development for life.

A few intersex persons were interviewed on Huffpost Live. Their views on the matter is most important because it concerns them directly.

Find out what they had to say on the next page…