Austria now has a non-binary gender option

Alex Jürgen didn't want to be "female" or "male" in official papers. As a result, the Austrian Constitutional Court ruled that everyone has the right to an individual gender identity.

Christine Tragler
Christine Tragler Der Standard, Austria
Source: Der Standard
Austria now has a non-binary gender option - NewsMavens
Constitutional Court, Austria, Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

"Today, for the first time in my life, I have the feeling of being recognized for what I am, the way I was born." Alex Jürgen lives openly as an intersex person. Now, thanks to them, Austrians whose whose gender is not clearly male or female will  have the right to a corresponding entry in the system of civil registration.

Gender researcher Sabine Hark, who is interviewed in the article below, believes there are underlying social mechanisms that prevented this recognition from happening earlier:

"[Gender division] was necessary, for example, for a well-functioning division of labor: women provide 52% more unpaid work than men for children, households, carers and volunteers every day, so it made sense for a society to distinguish between women and men."

The true impact of the ruling of the Austrian Constitutional Court will probably be easier to recognize in retrospect. But for Sabine Hark, this is undoubtedly a watershed moment, because it marks the end of dual gender in Austrian law.

Details from the story:

  • When asked if they are male or female, citizens of Austria will soon be allowed to answer "neither" at the civil registry office.
  • Following in Germany's footsteps, the Austrian Constitutional Court ruled that the current civil status law violates Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects sexual identity and self-determination.
  • It will not be necessary to repeal the existing law, because it requires "respect for private and family life" and the Constitutional Court ruled that this implied a right to "individual gender identity".
  • The Constitutional Court proposes the terms "open", "inter" or "divers" for non-binary gender identities.
  • Similar regulations exist in Australia, New Zealand, Malta and India.
EDITOR'S PICK:
inbox_large_illu Created with Sketch.
Tired of the news media’s prevailing male perspective? We are too.

Get our newsletters composed exclusively by female journalists from all over Europe.

WITH FINANCIAL SUPPORT FROM:
Google DNI
SUPPORTED BY:
Women in news
World Editors Forum
STRATEGIC PARTNERS:
NewsMavens
NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
Is something happening in your country that Newsmavens should cover?
CORE TEAM
Zuzanna Ziomecka
Zuzanna Ziomecka EDITOR IN CHIEF
Lea Berriault-Jauvin
Lea Berriault Managing Editor
Jessica Sirotin
Jessica Sirotin EDITOR
Ada Petriczko
Ada Petriczko EDITOR
Gazeta Wyborcza, Agora SA Czerska 8/10 00-732, Warsaw Poland
The e-mail addresses provided above are not intended for recruitment purposes. Messages concerning recruitment will be deleted immediately. Your personal data provided as part of your correspondence with Zuzanna,Lea, Jessica and Ada will be processed for the purpose of resolving the issue you contacted us about. The data provided in your email is controlled by Agora S.A. with its registered office in Warsaw Czerska 8/10 Street (00-732). You can find more information about the processing and protection of your personal data at https://newsmavens.com/transparency-policy