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NL Transgenderwet: change to sex on birth certificate made easier

Persons born in the Netherlands who feel their gender identity does not correspond to their sex observed at birth can, under certain conditions, change the sex registered on their birth certificate. These conditions were already relaxed in 2014 with the Transgenderwet, and the procedure is now being further simplified following an evaluation of the Act. This week, Minister Dekker (Rechtsbescherming), also on behalf of Minister Van Engelshoven (Emancipatie), submitted an amendment to the law to the Tweede Kamer which, among other things, scraps the expert statement and age limit.

In 2016, 2017 and 2018, 460, 530 and 640 people respectively used the procedure for changing sex registration.

Rijksoverheid feels that:

"in order to do justice to the emancipation of transgender persons, a number of changes have been proposed to simplify the procedure."

First of all, the expert statement, in which a doctor or psychologist establishes that there is a lasting conviction to belong to the opposite sex, will be abolished. According to care providers, this cannot be established, and interest groups such as Transgender Netwerk Nederland, the Nederlandse organisatie voor seksediversiteit and COC Nederland say they consider it an infringement of the individual's right to self-determination. Instead, the procedure will be divided into two steps: a written submission of the wish for a change in sex registration, and a confirmation of this wish four to twelve weeks later.

Persons aged sixteen and older will report a first and possibly second change to the registrar. A third or subsequent change is possible for them after an application to the court.

The age limit will also be dropped, so that children under the age of sixteen can also change their sex registration. This will be done through a request to the court.

"The age limit has been dropped, because interest groups and some parents argue that some young people already go through life before the age of sixteen with a different gender than the [sex] designated at birth."

The final change in the procedure will ensure that people who want to notify the registrar of their sex change will always be able to do so in their own place of residence. At present, one has to return to the place of birth to do so.

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