THE HAGUE – The ruling party VVD has doubts about a change in the law that will make it easier for people to change their gender in the registry of births, marriages, and deaths. In the future, people over 16 will no longer have to submit a statement from an expert. But VVD parliamentarian Ulysse Ellian wants a discussion in the new procedure about the (legal) consequences of such a decision as a “protection against frivolity.”
Ellian wants a better substantiation from the Cabinet as to why it hasn’t opted for that, especially now that it is scrapping the statement from, for example, a doctor about the sustainability of a person’s wish to change their gender. “We see that such a conversation can be useful. It is not about a medical issue but about overseeing the choice,” said the VVD MP. He thinks the threshold for self-determination is already low enough. Until the Cabinet has replied, he won’t say whether the VVD will support the bill or not.
Without the backing of the largest party in parliament, the bill is unlikely to pass. The debate on Tuesday evening showed support from D66, SP, PvdA, GroenLinks, PvdD, and BIJ1 at this stage. Several parties have not yet raised their opinions in the debate, which was broken off at the end of the evening and will continue on Wednesday. Minister Franc Weerwind (Legal Protection) will reply to the parties’ questions at a later time.
Of the coalition parties, the CDA – which also has reservations – has not yet had a turn to speak. ChristenUnie is against the bill. The D66 will support the bill and wants to go another step further. D66 MP Lisa van Ginneken, herself openly transgender, argued that children under 16 should also be allowed to change their gender registration. That will soon be allowed, but only through a court order.
Van Ginneken wants the court step deleted because that step is “difficult and unnecessary.” According to her, children can make their own judgments about their gender identity; moreover, the parents must give permission for the decision. She believes that parental authority is a sufficient guarantee for the child’s best interests. She is also working on a bill to allow an X on the register for non-binary people who don’t identify as male or female.
Opponents of the amendment, including far-right PVV and Christian SGP, see obstacles. Some fear that men will abuse this amendment to register as women so they can harass women. Those fears are unjustified, the proponents argued, pointing to positive experiences in nine other countries where the possibility already exists. ChristenUnie said that the intended amendment wouldn’t solve transgender people’s problems, and MP Mirjam Bikker argued to improve transgender care instead.