Czech court won’t let non-binary person change their ID number

The court says it is up to legislators to create a legal framework for any change of the perception of two genders.


Written by ČTK Published on 22.06.2022 10:03:00 (updated on 22.06.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech Constitutional Court rejected a complaint filed by a person who was assigned male at birth but now identifies as neither a man nor a woman. The person wanted to change the birth number (rodné číslo) in their ID to “neutral” or “female,” the court announced. The court holds that any recognition of a third sex or non-binary gender has to come from legislation and social debate, and not from the courts.

The 10-digit rodné číslo is based on the year, month, and date someone is born, plus four additional numbers to distinguish between people born on the same day. For men, the numbers for the months are between one and 12, while for women they are between 61 and 72.

The Constitutional Court did not challenge the previous verdicts by the Supreme Administrative Court and the Metropolitan Court in Prague. The Constitutional Court is not authorized to change the binary understanding of sex in the Czech Republic either in social or in legal terms, judge Milada Tomková explained.

The Constitutional Court previously dismissed the complainant’s effort to change a part of the law that specifies the conditions for an official change of gender on legal documents. The name of the person behind the suit has not been disclosed.

This time, the complainant only demanded that the birth number be changed because it indicates they are male when they do not identify this way. The court, however, maintains that the number does not explicitly reveal its holder’s sex.

The law only allows a special form of this number for women, but the complainant does not feel like a woman. Only the binary understanding of sex can lead to the assumption that if the number does not have the female form, the holder must be a man.

Besides, the right demanded by the complainant does not reflect the established practice of the European Court for Human Rights, which previously dealt with the merits of different legal cases, the judges added.

When a court panel addressed the previous case for the same complainant, its justification indicated that only a social debate along with the activity of legislators, not judges, can lead to a change in a cultural paradigm and the acceptance of the third sex. Courts are not supposed to interfere in cultural and political conflicts in order to maintain their neutrality and credibility.

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