A 64-year-old French citizen registered male at birth has become the first officially gender neutral person in France following high court recognition.
Born in the city of Tours (pictured above) in central France in 1951, the court applicant was registered male at birth. However, the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Tours (the local High Court) has ruled that the person’s birth certificate was nothing more than “pure fiction” and told the city registrar to amend it.
Speaking to the daily French newspaper, 20 Minutes, the gender neutral person said:
“During adolescence, I realised I wasn’t a boy. I never had a beard, my muscles never really developed, but at the same time, it was impossible for me to think I’d ever become a woman. I only had to look in the mirror to realise that.”
The court ruling, made in August but revealed to the public only this week, was backed by medical evidence noting the gender neutral person was born with a “rudimentary vagina”, a micro-penis and no testicles and was therefore intersex (someone whose genitals are difficult or impossible to define by the usual standards, a condition said to affect 0.018 per cent of the population).
It is for that reason the person has been designated gender neutral in contrast to others who choose to transition from one gender to another.
Most babies identified as intersex at birth are quickly operated on, but the gender assignment operation is said to be of debatable therapeutic value. Some argue children are surgically altered for their parents’ peace of mind rather than waiting until the subject is old enough to choose whether or not to have an operation. The court applicant said:
“For 64 years I’ve lived with both sexes. I am proof that you can have a life without suffering mutilating operation.”
The ruling of the court stated that the “gender that was assigned at birth appears to be pure fiction, forced on this person throughout their life”. The judge did stress there was no intention to recognise the existence of “some kind of third gender”, but rather to accept “the impossibility of linking this person to one particular gender”.
Fearing that the case does indeed recognise a third gender, the local prosecutor has registered an appeal with a higher court on the grounds that is a social debate, not something to be decided by a court.