Aug. 15 (UPI) — The German government on Wednesday approved a third gender option on official documents, allowing people to register as “divers.”The Cabinet settled on the label nine months after Germany’s top court — the Federal Constitutional Court — ordered the creation of a third gender category.
The court left the selection of the third term up to the government.The ruling came after an intersex person, classified as neither man nor woman, filed a legal challenge after attempting to change their registered gender to “inter” or “divers.” “Divers” equates to “miscellaneous” or “other” in English.
The court said the lack of a third option was discriminatory against intersex people.
The new option was expected to go into effect on official documents before the end of 2018.
Justice Minister Katarina Barley praised the approval, saying no one should be discriminated against because of their sexual identity.
“The introduction of a third sex option was overdue. This is about dignity and positive identity!” she tweeted.
The United Nations’ Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner says according to experts between 0.5 percent and 1.7 percent of the global population is born with intersex traits that do not fit male or female bodies, including genitals, gonads and chromosome patterns.
“Being intersex relates to biological sex characteristics, and is distinct from a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity,” the U.N. office said in a fact sheet. “An intersex person may be straight, gay,lesbian, bisexual or asexual, and may identify as female, male, both or neither.”
In 2013, Australia adopted the Sex Discrimination Amendment, the first law to include intersex status as a stand-alone prohibited ground of discrimination. The nation’s Senate also banned involuntary or coerced sterilization of intersex people.
Earlier this year, California joined New York as the only states to allow residents who don’t identify as male or female to change their birth certificates to match their gender identity.