Dutch ID cards to be gender-free within five years to avoid ‘unnecessary’ registration

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Dutch identity cards will no longer specify a person’s gender as the government seeks to eliminate ‘unnecessary’ registration, education minister Ingrid van Engelshoven has said in a letter to parliament.

The change will take effect in five years’ time, when other changes to ID cards come into force, in order to keep costs down. Campaigners said the move was a positive step for people who felt they did not fit into the binary categories of male and female.

Some changes to stop the registration of gender have already been made at a local level with a number of local councils, like Amsterdam and Utrecht, adapting their contact forms and where possible removing questions where a specification of gender is irrelevant.

The government job website ‘Werken voor Nederland’ (working for the Netherlands) has also scrapped the requirement for applicants to tick a gender box.

Passports will continue to carry the holder’s gender because of European rules, but if enough member states support the change gender could be scrapped from these documents too, the minister said. The legal ramifications of gender neutral birth certificates are still being looked into.

Organisations COC (LGTB), NNID (gender diverse) and TNN (transgender), which campaigned for the change, said they were ‘happy’ the plans are on track.

‘It will be great news for people who time and again face problems because of the gender on their cards and who are asked unnecessary and indiscreet questions on trains or at the border,’ they told Trouw.

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