Austria has issued its first intersex birth certificate after a four-year battle.
The European country issued its first intersex birth certificate on Thursday, July 16, as a growing number of countries offer identity documents with options other than male and female.
Intersex people were previously referred to as hermaphrodites but this term is no longer used for humans as it is considered to be misleading and stigmatizing.
Alex Juergen (pictured above), who is intersex, a term for people who are born with atypical chromosomes or sex characteristics, is waiting to receive the new birth certificate – with the sex listed as “inter” – or intersex in German – in the post.
“I am very happy that the law and the government have finally recognised this,” Juergen, 43, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation from Steyr, some 160km west of the capital Vienna.
“Many people don’t accept that there can be something else,” said Juergen, who does not identify as either male or female.
A growing number of U.S. states, as well as countries including Germany, Pakistan and Nepal, now allow people to choose a third sex option on official documents, with most opting for the letter “X”. India has “T” for transgender.
Juergen’s quest for a new birth certificate began in 2016, leading to a constitutional court ruling in 2018 that Austria’s laws allowed for the inclusion of more than two sex options on identity documents.
In 2019, Juergen was given a passport with “X” on instead of “M” or “F”, and a birth certificate with “divers”, roughly meaning “other”, but continued to demand “inter” as a category for the latter.
Regulations issued by Austria’s interior ministry after the 2018 court ruling state that a child whose sex cannot be determined should have “open” on their birth certificate until a decision can be made by them or their legal representative.
The United Nations estimates 1.7% of people are intersex, although the condition is often not immediately obvious.