Court rules non-binary person can be X, without providing expert opinion

Photo: Deposit

Judges in Arnhem have ruled that a non-binary person does not have to involve an outside expert to assess whether they should be allowed to have X in their passport, rather than M or V.

The case was brought by 30-year-old Ryan Ramharak, who objected to the involvement of a therapist or psychiatrist in the process.

The court ruled that Ryan’s individual interest in amending the birth certificate outweighs the general interest in strict enforcement of the current legal situation. There is now ‘social and legal recognition of a neutral gender identity’ and there have been ‘developments in law to convert this recognition into legislation,’ the court said.

It has been possible to have an X in a Dutch passport since 2018, and last year, the cabinet agreed to drop the involvement of an outside expert for people switching from male to female and visa versa. But that was not the case for people wishing to be listed as X.

‘What [officialdom] is saying is that your word is not enough,’ Ramharak told broadcaster NOS. ‘Yet a psychiatrist cannot look inside my head, but can only use what I have told them.’

D66 MP Lisa van Ginneken has now submitted draft legislation which would remove the need for outside assessment for everyone wishing to be listed as non-binary. A second court case is also due to be heard in Zwolle next year.

Ramharak, who is six months pregnant, is also involved in another legal dispute. ‘I will be listed as mother on the birth certificate but I don’t feel like a mother or a father, but a parent, Ramharak told the AD earlier.

Ramharak said they hoped the passport ruling would pave the way to being named as parent on the baby’s birth certificate.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation