M, W or X? MPs debate changing sex in your passport
MPs on Tuesday evening will debate legislation giving transgender people the right to change the sex listed on their birth certificate without an expert’s statement.
The law will also reduce the age at which someone can apply to formally change the way their sex is registered from 18 to 16, without the intervention of a judge.
The most important part of the legislation is scrapping the statement by a doctor or psychologist, which people who have gone through the procedure describe as humiliating, expensive and unnecessary.
Instead, people would be able to request a change at their local town hall, rather than in their place of birth, without going through medical or psychological procedures.
As yet, it is unclear whether or not there is majority support in parliament for the new law. Of the four coalition parties, only D66 has come out in favour and ChristenUnie is opposed. The VVD and CDA will decide their positions later today.
Dutch law covering transgender people has been amended several times in recent years, most significantly in 2014 when the requirement that they be sterilised to officially change sex was abolished.
Dutch passports have also included the options of V (vrouw or woman), M (man) and X (gender neutral) since 2018.
Tuesday’s legislation only includes the options to be known as V or M, even though last December, judges in Arnhem 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.
Nevertheless, efforts by D66 MP Lisa van Ginneken to amend the current draft legislation to include the right to be X fell foul of the Council of State, which said this would be too complicated to include.
Read our interview with Lisa van Ginnekan
Van Ginneken, the first openly transgender MP in the Netherlands, told the AD she hoped ‘sense’ would win in Tuesday’s debate. ‘Give transgender people, including children, the right to decide over their own lives,’ she said. ‘Without the involvement of a psychologist or a judge.’
Some opponents argue that self identifying as a different sex, without undergoing medical procedures or counselling, could be open to abuse, citing cases of men infiltrating women’s toilets.
This, Brand Berghouwer of the Dutch transgender network TNN, told website Nu.nl ‘is complete nonsense’.
‘When was the last time you had to show your ID to use a changing room or public toilet?’ Berghouwer said. ‘Anyone who harasses others can be denied entry.’
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