A French court has for the first time, recognised a third gender for a person born with both male and female genitalia. According to Joel Patard, vice-prosecutor, the plaintiff, whose identity was not revealed had been considered a man since being designated male at birth, can now use the term “neutral gender” on personal official documents as a result of the August 20 court ruling.The case is however subject to appeal.
The plaintiff was born with a “rudimentary vagina” and a “micropenis” but no testicles. “As a teenager I understood that I was not a boy. I didn’t have a beard, my muscles didn’t grow,” the individual told the paper. “Today I finally feel I am recognised by society for who I really am.”
Patard said the 64-year-old had approached the courts in June to seek the “neutral gender” civil status, not wanting such an “unequivocal” designation as male or female. Medical evidence and research showing that the individual was not unique were produced in the case, Patard said.
The plaintiff said at age 35, after doctors administered testosterone: “My appearance became more masculine. It was a shock, I no longer recognised myself. It made me realise I was neither a man nor a woman.”
The vice-prosecutor said he was however appealing the court’s decision, not because he fiercely opposed it but because he felt a higher ruling was necessary in a case that has “collided with current laws”.
Several countries including Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Nepal officially recognise a third gender on official forms. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh also have an official third gender designation for so-called hijra citizens who do not identify as male or female.
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