Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Mom Confessions Mom Confessions

Germany offers third gender option on birth certificates! **EDIT**

Posted by on Nov. 3, 2013 at 4:40 PM
  • 68 Replies

"A German law takes effect today that establishes a third gender option for parents filling out birth certificates for newborn babies. They can choose "indeterminate" if the child shows both male and female characteristics.

The parents will make that choice by leaving the boxes for male and female genders blank. The new law is meant to avoid the need to label an intersex baby as male or female before the child is old enough to decide.

The child could also opt to remain classified as intersex. German passports "will soon be allowed to have an 'X' in the gender field, according to a spokesman for the interior ministry,""

Read the full article here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/11/01/242366812/germany-offers-third-gender-option-on-birth-certificates


This is a landmark law for intersex individuals and something I hope spreads to other countries! One in 100 babies present some gender ambiguity at birth. Historically, parents have been forced to choose a gender at birth, and the infant is often surgically altered to physically "conform" to that gender. This law allows intersex individuals to present with their mental gender before physical alterations are made (if they are made at all!) 


What's your take on this?

Does anyone in this group have experience giving birth to (or personally know someone who gave birth to) an intersex child? What did you/they decide with regards to gender? 





EDIT: As another poster mentioned, I think many moms are mistaking "intersex" individuals with "transgendered" individuals. Here is a little more information on what intersex means and the prevalence of intersex births as provided by the Intersex Society of North America via http://www.isna.org/faq:

I have bolded some of the more relevant quotes. 


What is intersex?

“Intersex” is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male. For example, a person might be born appearing to be female on the outside, but having mostly male-typical anatomy on the inside. Or a person may be born with genitals that seem to be in-between the usual male and female types—for example, a girl may be born with a noticeably large clitoris, or lacking a vaginal opening, or a boy may be born with a notably small penis, or with a scrotum that is divided so that it has formed more like labia. Or a person may be born with mosaic genetics, so that some of her cells have XX chromosomes and some of them have XY.

Though we speak of intersex as an inborn condition, intersex anatomy doesn’t always show up at birth. Sometimes a person isn’t found to have intersex anatomy until she or he reaches the age of puberty, or finds himself an infertile adult, or dies of old age and is autopsied. Some people live and die with intersex anatomy without anyone (including themselves) ever knowing.

Which variations of sexual anatomy count as intersex? In practice, different people have different answers to that question. That’s not surprising, because intersex isn’t a discreet or natural category.

What does this mean? Intersex is a socially constructed category that reflects real biological variation. To better explain this, we can liken the sex spectrum to the color spectrum. There’s no question that in nature there are different wavelengths that translate into colors most of us see as red, blue, orange, yellow. But the decision to distinguish, say, between orange and red-orange is made only when we need it—like when we’re asking for a particular paint color. Sometimes social necessity leads us to make color distinctions that otherwise would seem incorrect or irrational, as, for instance, when we call certain people “black” or “white” when they’re not especially black or white as we would otherwise use the terms.

In the same way, nature presents us with sex anatomy spectrums. Breasts, penises, clitorises, scrotums, labia, gonads—all of these vary in size and shape and morphology. So-called “sex” chromosomes can vary quite a bit, too. But in human cultures, sex categories get simplified into male, female, and sometimes intersex, in order to simplify social interactions, express what we know and feel, and maintain order.

So nature doesn’t decide where the category of “male” ends and the category of “intersex” begins, or where the category of “intersex” ends and the category of “female” begins. Humans decide. Humans (today, typically doctors) decide how small a penis has to be, or how unusual a combination of parts has to be, before it counts as intersex. Humans decide whether a person with XXY chromosomes or XY chromosomes and androgen insensitivity will count as intersex.

In our work, we find that doctors’ opinions about what should count as “intersex” vary substantially. Some think you have to have “ambiguous genitalia” to count as intersex, even if your inside is mostly of one sex and your outside is mostly of another. Some think your brain has to be exposed to an unusual mix of hormones prenatally to count as intersex—so that even if you’re born with atypical genitalia, you’re not intersex unless your brain experienced atypical development. And some think you have to have both ovarian and testicular tissue to count as intersex.

Rather than trying to play a semantic game that never ends, we at ISNA take a pragmatic approach to the question of who counts as intersex. We work to build a world free of shame, secrecy, and unwanted genital surgeries for anyone born with what someone believes to be non-standard sexual anatomy.


How common is intersex?

To answer this question in an uncontroversial way, you’d have to first get everyone to agree on what counts as intersex —and also to agree on what should count as strictly male or strictly female. That’s hard to do. How small does a penis have to be before it counts as intersex? Do you count “sex chromosome” anomalies as intersex if there’s no apparent external sexual ambiguity?1 (Alice Dreger explores this question in greater depth in her book Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex.)

Here’s what we do know: If you ask experts at medical centers how often a child is born so noticeably atypical in terms of genitalia that a specialist in sex differentiation is called in, the number comes out to about 1 in 1500 to 1 in 2000 births. But a lot more people than that are born with subtler forms of sex anatomy variations, some of which won’t show up until later in life.

Below we provide a summary of statistics drawn from an article by Brown University researcher Anne Fausto-Sterling.2 The basis for that article was an extensive review of the medical literature from 1955 to 1998 aimed at producing numeric estimates for the frequency of sex variations. Note that the frequency of some of these conditions, such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia, differs for different populations. These statistics are approximations.

Not XX and not XYone in 1,666 births
Klinefelter (XXY)one in 1,000 births
Androgen insensitivity syndromeone in 13,000 births
Partial androgen insensitivity syndromeone in 130,000 births
Classical congenital adrenal hyperplasiaone in 13,000 births
Late onset adrenal hyperplasiaone in 66 individuals
Vaginal agenesisone in 6,000 births
Ovotestesone in 83,000 births
Idiopathic (no discernable medical cause)one in 110,000 births
Iatrogenic (caused by medical treatment, for instance progestin administered to pregnant mother)no estimate
5 alpha reductase deficiencyno estimate
Mixed gonadal dysgenesisno estimate
Complete gonadal dysgenesisone in 150,000 births
Hypospadias (urethral opening in perineum or along penile shaft)one in 2,000 births
Hypospadias (urethral opening between corona and tip of glans penis)one in 770 births
Total number of people whose bodies differ from standard male or femaleone in 100 births
Total number of people receiving surgery to “normalize” genital appearanceone or two in 1,000 births

by on Nov. 3, 2013 at 4:40 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
quickbooksworm
by Ruby Member on Nov. 3, 2013 at 4:43 PM
1 mom liked this
I think its great!
Caera
by on Nov. 3, 2013 at 4:43 PM

FUCKING RIDICULOUS

NewInChrist
by on Nov. 3, 2013 at 4:45 PM
Wow, that's cool.
I don't know anyone that has had a baby like that...
Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 on Nov. 3, 2013 at 4:46 PM
2 moms liked this
Im just not sure....

Aquatic animal will soon take over this post....
laineysmum
by Silver Member on Nov. 3, 2013 at 5:06 PM

Why is that ridiculous? 

Are you familiar with intersexed individuals? "Hermaphrodite" is the antiquated term. 

Quoting Caera:

FUCKING RIDICULOUS


mommyfesha
by monster on Nov. 3, 2013 at 5:08 PM
That's cool
Anonymous
by Anonymous 2 on Nov. 3, 2013 at 5:08 PM
Thays dumb.
AllofFive19
by Ruby Member on Nov. 3, 2013 at 5:08 PM
2 moms liked this

I think that's great! Much better than making their parents choose one or the other for them.

laineysmum
by Silver Member on Nov. 3, 2013 at 5:09 PM

If your child was born with both a penis and a vagina, what would you do? 

Quoting Anonymous:

Thays dumb.


AllofFive19
by Ruby Member on Nov. 3, 2013 at 5:09 PM

I had a friend in grade school that was intersexed.

Quoting NewInChrist:

Wow, that's cool.
I don't know anyone that has had a baby like that...


Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

close Join now to connect to
other members!
Connect with Facebook or Sign Up Using Email

Already Joined? LOG IN