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Germany Gives Third Gender Option at Birth

(CNN) -- Traditionally a birth certificate offers two gender choices, male or female; but now in Germany, there is a third option.
(CNN) -- Traditionally a birth certificate offers two gender choices, male or female; but now in Germany, there is a third option.

As of Friday, Germany is the first country in Europe to allow parents to not specify their child's gender on birth certificates.

The European Union is attempting to coordinate anti-discrimination efforts across member states,
but LBGT activists say the E.U. is lagging behind on the issue.

Claudia Kreuzer says she was born with male and female sexual characteristics, Claudia and partner Frances identify themselves as intersex.

They say they often feel stigmatized because other people want to fit them into the typical male-female gender roles.

"Since you are the unknown gender you are often refused at first sight. If humans cannot allocate something, they are often suspicious and careful."

German parents will now be allowed to leave the field for gender blank on birth certificates, effectively creating a third category for indeterminate sex.

Supporters of the new law say this takes the pressure off parents to immediately assign a child's gender.

"However, this raises many questions, it is only a first step in my view. For example, it is still unclear what happens when these children grow older. Are they obliged to decide whether they want to be male or female?"

Intersex advocates call the new law only a first step towards acceptance, German officials have yet to make clear how it will impact marriage and partnership laws.

"Of course we have to have to talk about the legal consequences as well, such as marriage, but it will still take some time as society is not yet ready."

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