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Dutch court states the Netherlands should recognize a third gender

Dutch court states the Netherlands should recognize a third gender

Netherlands Pride in Amsterdam, 2013

A court in the Netherlands said the country should legally recognize a neutral, third gender.

The announcement, made on Monday, 28 May, came from a court in the southern city of Roermond.

What happened?

This case came after a person who was unable to be identified as male or female at birth sought to change the gender marker on their birth certificate. They were registered as male upon their birth in 1961. But in 2001, they began receiving treatment to transition to female. At first, the applicant wanted to change the gender marker to female, but later felt a gender-neutral marker would better suit them. They have said they feel ‘neither like a man or woman.’

The identity of this applicant was not released to the public.

‘The time is ripe for recognition of a third gender,’ the court 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.’

A similar request by a different person was turned down in 2007 by the High Council, the Netherlands’ highest court.


Transgender advocates praised this moment as a turning point for trans people in the Netherlands.

‘This can be called revolutionary within Dutch family law,’ Brand Berghouwer of the Netherlands’ Transgender Network said in a statement.

Anything else?

If the Netherlands chooses to officially recognize a third gender, they will join Australia, Germany, Nepal, Bangladesh, and India.