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Germany passed a new law that would allow parents to leave their child’s sex blank on the birth certificates in cases where the infant’s sex is not clear at birth.
In academic circles, sex and gender are two completely different terms. Sex refers to physical characteristics. Gender roles are social constructs that children learn from their parents.
The new law would allow children who were born with both kinds of genitalia to decide which sex they wish to be when they are older. They could decide to not declare any sex at all.
This could pose a problem with certain legal documents, such as passports. Current passports only allow for two options – male or female. Australia is currently the only country in the world that allows citizens to choose this third option for all legal documents even if they have not received hormone therapy or surgery, Spiegel reports.
The new law does not apply to transsexuals.
“Intersex people differ from trans people as their status is not gender related but instead relates to their biological makeup […] which is neither exclusively male nor exclusively female, but is typical of both at once or not clearly defined as either,” the European Commission says in a 2011 report.
Until recently, surgeons would perform surgery on intersex infants. The primary problem with doing so is that the sex that the surgeon chose usually did not coincide with the gender that the child would choose as a teen, UPI reports.
The law, which takes effect on November 1, seeks, in part, to address this issue.