Legislative proposal on transgenders to Lower House

Mr Teeven, the State Secretary of Security and Justice, submitted a legislative proposal to the Lower House today, making it easier for transgendersto change the gender as stated in their birth certificate. It will be no longer necessaryto undergo an operation or hormone treatment to adapt their body to the desiredgender. The so-called sterilisation provision will also be abandoned. This provision determines that the birth certificate cannot be changed, unless the transgender is infertile.

In the future it will suffice to have a specific expert, such as a psychiatrist or a psychologist, establish that the transgender person’s conviction is of a permanent nature. On the basis of such a statement, the registrar of births, deaths and marriages will be permitted to change the gender in the birth certificate. It will no longer be necessary to get a court order. Similar administrative procedures already exist in various countries, including Austria, Belgium, Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

For people who have a male or a female body, but have a deep wish to be a person of the other sex, the abolishment of the sterilisation provision and the requirement to adapt physically to the desired gender indicates a broader acknowledgement of their gender identity. A change of the gender in the birth certificate extends to all kinds of government administrations, such as the Municipal Personal Records Database. Consequently, it affects passport and other travel documents, as well as school diplomas and university degrees.

Mr Teeven expects that it will become easier for transgender to take part in society, because some obstacles will be removed. At an international level, people are becoming more and more convinced that the statutoryrecognitionof a person’s gender identity should not be subject to requirements like sex change surgery or hormone treatment. The Netherlands concurs with that opinion.