Nothing much about the human condition throws me -- I've seen enough strange turns in my lifetime to know just about anything is possible. Once in a while, though, something comes along that is stunning enough to make feel really old and out of it. This is one:
Germany is set to become the first country in Europe to introduce a third, "indeterminate" gender designation on birth certificates. The European Union, which is attempting to coordinate anti-discrimination efforts across member states, is lagging behind on the issue.
The option of selecting "blank", in addition to the standard choices of "male" or female" on birth certificates will become available in Germany from November 1. The legislative change allows parents to opt out of determining their baby's gender, thereby allowing those born with characteristics of both sexes to choose whether to become male or female in later life. Under the new law, individuals can also opt to remain outside the gender binary altogether.
Does it make me sound hoplessly traidition-bound to argue that, whether you think it was God doing it or just human nature, there are just two sexes, and sex is meant to select us, not the other way around. When they say "characteristices of both sexes," I presume they don't mean body parts -- true hermaphrodites are just a tiny, tiny fractiion of 1 percent of the world's population -- but rather behavioral characteristices. How clear are those at birth? By labeling a kid "blank," aren't you just pushing him/her into a life of predetermined misery?
And, lord almighty, "can opt to remain outside of the gender binary altogether"? I think we bugged out of Europe just in the nick of time.