German cabinet approves third ‘gender option’

The German cabinet has approved proposals to allow people to be identified as “diverse” on their birth certificates.

The move to add a third ‘gender option’ in addition to male and female was to comply with a ruling by the country’s highest court.

The Federal Constitutional Court said in November, while considering a a high-profile case involving an intersex person, that people must be allowed to be entered in records as neither male nor female.

Intersex condition

The plaintiff in the case had an X chromosome, but no second chromosome, indicating a very rare genetic abnormality that made the person neither male nor female.

The court said authorities must allow an extra gender option, or remove the requirement for gender options entirely from birth certificates.

The German cabinet has complied with the court’s decision, but it still requires parliamentary approval.


Franziska Giffey, the coalition government’s minister for families, said it is “an important step toward the legal recognition of people whose gender identity is neither male nor female”.

While the court ruling was designed to address a very small minority of cases involving intersex people, transgender advocates in Germany are pushing for adults to be able to self-declare their legal gender, arguing it should not be a medical issue.

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