The COC is positive about the first steps that were announced by the government in order to limit gender registration. COC Netherlands has been advocating this since November 2015. The interest groups call on the government to "quickly tackle this issue" and eventually abolish gender registration by the government.
Minister of Justice and Minister Bussemaker (Emancipation) stated earlier that the government will reduce sex registration on documents and cards. Since January 1 of this year the gender identification on public transport cards already disappeared. Also, many educational institutions will drop sex registration on student cards, and municipalities, for instance, will only mention initials and surnames on voting cards.
Tanja Ineke, president of COC Netherlands: ‘The steps are of practical value for, for instance, trans people or people who do not feel comfortable in a specific gender registration category.’ Ineke notes that it still frequently occurs that trans people are thrown out of trains because their travel pass states 'male' while living as a woman. Conductors think they are travelling illegally with someone else's card.
The COC calls on the government and the Dutch Lower House not to stop here and completely abolish gender registration by the government, for instance on the passport. A new cabinet could arrange this in a coalition agreement.
Ineke: ‘What people have in their underwear is not the government’s concern. Gender registration causes a multitude of practical problems in the daily life of trans and intersex people.
For trans people, gender registration often leads to humiliating situations. At customs people living as a man are often picked from the queue as their passport states ‘female’. In crowded waiting rooms, people living as a woman are often paged as 'Mr'.
For parents of children with an intersex condition, gender registration pressures them into registering their child male or female at the Registry Office. This can even lead to parents physically adapting their child to fit a particular gender category without a medical need to do so. This often has serious consequences in later life.
Compulsory gender registry forces people who do not clearly feel male or female into a category in which they often do not feel at ease. The Netherlands have at least 50,000 trans people, 85,000 people with an intersex condition, and more than 500,000 people who do not feel at ease in the category male/female (approximately 4 percent of the population).
** Intersex people are born with a body that does not (fully) meet the normative biological definition of male or female.