- - Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Come November, a German baby can be identified on birth certificates as male, female or “blank,” a bureaucratic equivalent of “who knows?” The German constitutional court decrees that as long as a person “deeply feels” he or she belongs to a certain sex, theirs is the right to choose a legal identity. Five thousand years of confusion and controversy over language and sex disappears with the swipe of a pen on a piece of legal parchment. Who would have guessed it could be so easy?

But wait. FamRZ, a German family-law publication, further urges that parents have the option of writing “X” if there’s a reluctance to identify the baby’s sex. This third option, FamRZ argues, will eliminate confusion at passport offices, schools, motor-vehicle bureaus and any place seeking ID.

The push for third-sex legislation, its advocates say, allows parents the choice of avoiding designations that don’t take into account all contingencies in the delicate matter of the difference between boys and girls (the feminists once assured us that all such distinctions would be history by now) or whether a baby might grow up to request sex-reassignment surgery. The law seeks to redress discrimination against “intersex people,” a category which includes those born with both female and male “junk.” About 1 in 5,000 persons born in Europe identify as “intersex.”

This is political correctness on steroids, defying everything we have learned since time began, which is why some people want to repeal it. Why would any country deliberately make such a muddle? Yet nations are lining up for the “third-sex” option. Count Finland in. The EU is close behind. A lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex lobbyist thinks success is just ahead. “Germany’s move will put more pressure on Brussels,” he says. “That can only be a good thing.”

Germany is more “progressive” than some other European countries, but the law and public opinion don’t always match. Though 74 percent of Germans approve of same-sex marriage, it’s nevertheless not legal in Germany. Same-sex unions by another name are legal, however, and faux husbands and extralegal wives are granted the same tax benefits married couples get. Earlier this year, Nepal began issuing “third-gender” citizenship certificates. Sweden has contributed a linguistic solution to the problem we didn’t know we had, adding a new pronoun “hen,” to take its place in the dictionary with the masculine “han” or the feminine “hon.” This obviously wouldn’t work in English. Who would call Miss America a hen?

The human comedy can accommodate many variations, and we’ve made a lot of “progress” since Noah finished his ark and invited everyone aboard. Bureaucrats hadn’t been invented, and Noah was captain of the boat and could make the rules for the lions, tigers, zebras, snakes and such. Faced with a watery apocalypse, he insisted that everyone travel “two by two,” with no frequent-voyager miles. He knew that three’s a crowd.

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