On the 20th of December, shortly before the holiday, the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior issued a decree on the official implementation of the third gender entry. Like in Germany a medical certificate is required to declare that the person is intersex. However, the ruling of the Austrian Constitutional Court of 15 June 2018, which triggered that decree, had clearly set the obligation for a low-threshold procedure based on self-determination and open to all individuals.
“The situation in Austria is even worse now than in Germany”, says Dan Christian Ghattas, Executive Director of OII Europe. “In Germany, the certificate can be issued by a doctor of confidence. This can protect intersex people at least a little bit from being discriminated and re-traumatized. In Austria the certificate must be obtained from a VdG board – a medical authority on variants of gender development, installed by the Ministry of Health. This is clearly not what the Austrian Constitutional Court had in mind: like the German Federal Constitutional Court, the Austrian Court is very aware of the discrimination and human rights violation that intersex people and non-binary people face. Both courts have determined the right of a person to the self-determination of their gender identity in the registry. Both have made clear that they consider regulations that are not based on self-determination to be a violation of the countries’ constitutions. We find it very worrying to see that two governments in a row neglect the highest juridical body of their country.”
OII Europe will be going on in supporting their national member organisations in advocating for their right to self-determination in all areas of life.