In the early hours of Wednesday, December 18, the Dutch parliament passed a new law expanding the rights of transgender people in the Netherlands: they will now be able to change official documents with only a statement from “an expert” supporting their desire to change their gender identity.
It will go into effect July 2014.
The current law requires that transgender people undergo gender confirmation surgery, as well as sterilization, and obtain a court order before being able to change official documentation, a policy which was denounced by the Human Rights Watch in 2011.
“This law is a victory for transgender [people]in the Netherlands,” said the chairs of the Transgender Network Netherlands and COC-Netherlands in a joint statement.
The law makes it much easier for transgender people to change their identification on official documents, which can be the source of much frustration.
“There is an end to all the humiliating situations that transgender people still daily deal with because the sex designation on their paper is different from the gender in which they live,” the statement reads.
Many celebrated the law’s passage as a major step for the Dutch parliament, including former parliamentarian Boris Dittrich, an advocator for LGBT rights in the Netherlands, who called the move “a major step forward.”