People who do not fit the biological definitions of male or female in Germany can now be legally identified as a third option on official records from January 1.
The new category, “divers,” which roughly translates to “other” or “miscellaneous,” is included on driving licenses, birth certificates and other official documents.
Until now, the only option for those who do not identify themselves as male or female was to leave the gender entry blank.
The ruling will apply to those born as intersex and parents will need a doctor’s certificate to mark their child under the new category.
Adults registered as male or female will also need a medical certificate to change their gender marker.
The update to the constitution was approved in parliament in December 2018 after a German court ruled that there must be a third gender option.
The case that set the change in motion was opened by a German citizen identified only as Vanja.
Born in 1989, Vanja’s initial attempts to change her gender from female to intersex/diverse were rejected.
Backed by gender advocacy group Third Option, Vanja sued the German government.
After a legal battle that lasted four years, a top court in Germany in November 2017 ordered the government to pass a law to bring in the third category.
The move made the country the first in the European Union to allow parents to designate their intersex children as third gender.