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Netherlands Announces Country’s ID Cards Will No Longer Mention a Person’s Sex

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Jul 6, 2020

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

Identity cards in the Netherlands will no longer specify the sex of the card-holder because the government has deemed such information “unnecessary.”

Last year, the Dutch government had expressed an intention to “reduce unnecessary sex registration where possible.” Ingrid van Engelshoven, the Dutch Minister for Education, Culture and Science, announced the change in a letter on Friday.

Several advocacy groups, such as the Transgender Netwerk Nederland, COC Nederland, and NNID, had been lobbying for this change for some time. “It is excellent news for people who encounter problems with these sorts of categories on their ID cards on a daily basis. And it’s also good news for whoever believes that the contents of your underwear do not concern the government or the authorities,” they said in a joint statement.


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At present, the government has constituted an inter-departmental working group on this project, which is set to begin the process of identifying and amending different statutes across the country that might need to be updated in line with the announced change. In the meantime, the government will also be spreading awareness about the registration of sex being “unnecessary,” as well as update protocols for police officers, who are often in charge of inspecting documents. The change will coincide with the next cycle of government ID card production, which is slated for 2024/2025, so as to create minimal budgetary impact.

However, the government will continue to include sex in Dutch passports because the country follows the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Directive.

The Netherlands will not be the first European country to exclude sex from its identity cards. The letter also cited the example of Germany, which does not include a gender-marker in its identity cards.

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Written By Devrupa Rakshit

Devrupa Rakshit is an associate editor with The Swaddle. She is a lawyer by education, a poet by accident, and a painter by shaukh. She has her own podcast called #DateNightsWithD on Spotify. You can find her on Instagram @devruparakshit.

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