First gender-neutral passport in the Netherlands issued
On Friday, October 19, 2018, the Netherlands issued the first ever gender-neutral passport in the country to 57 year-old Leonne Zeegers from Breda. Zeegers identifies as intersex and, as such, has been given a passport with the gender marked “X” instead of M or V for male or female.
Gender-neutral in the Netherlands
The right to register as gender-neutral didn’t come easy for Zeegers, who was born with both male and female attributes. The fight for a gender-neutral passport had been going on for 10 years.
On May 28, 2018, a court in Roermond ruled in favour of changing Zeegers’ birth certificate to reflect a gender-neutral option. The birth certificate in question now states, “sex could not be determined” instead of male or female. The court stated that not being able to register as gender-neutral is a violation of privacy, right of self-determination and personal autonomy.
Dutch law needs to change
Whilst Zeegers has been granted a gender-neutral passport, it is not the case that anyone who neither identifies as a male or female can now change the gender on their passport or other legal documents. Dutch legislation needs to be amended to make this possible.
At this moment in time, those individuals who wish to change their gender must go via the courts to do so. According to the COC, an advocacy group for LGBTI people, around four percent of people in the Netherlands identify as neither male nor female.
The COC is pleased for Zeegers, calling the outcome a “personal triumph”, and declaring this a “wake-up call for the government: make it possible for everyone to scrap gender labels in their passports and other official documents”.