Friday, 30 March 2012

Legal Recognition Of My Intersex Condition And Beyond

Today a number of things happened: I got the shipping confirmation on my new phone, two days earlier than expected, had one lawyer tell me that the legal gender change has been approved and another reaffirm the case against the Dutch hospitals. The judgment regarding the gender change will help immensily with the latter.

The first lawyer is Marlies van Haaf-Noot, of Kiers Advocaten in Deventer. She has been instrumental in setting up and handling the request and subsequent questions from the court. Also crucial in getting the gender change approved were the German physician Dr. Pottek, Dutch physician Dr. Zweers (sadly deceased), and my psychotherapist Engel Vrouwe. Steering the request into the right direction was done by J. Vreer Verkerke, a human rights activist who consulted a lawyer more familiar with these matters about the right law article to use.

In the end the gender change was approved based on article 1:24 BW, which is the Dutch Civil Law. The other article initially used, 1:28, is aimed at transsexuals and did not apply to me according to the court. 1:24 on the other hand matched aside from the exact wording. It's aimed at intersex cases whereby at birth the intersex condition is known, yet the wrong gender is picked for the child. In other words, the somatic characteristics of both male and female genitals have to be visible. My case presented an issue here in the sense that the female genitals for me were not visible, but hidden, yet the available evidence makes it undeniable that I am in fact intersex, and primarily female.

The ruling that 1:24 does apply to me means a big shift in the interpretation of this law article, and also the very first time that such a request has been requested and approved by a Dutch court. The precedent of this case should not be underestimated. After forwarding the ruling to my personal injuries lawyer, Yme Drost, he immediately contacted me despite being officially sick at home. To him it represents a marvelous opportunity, as with this I have legal recognition in the Netherlands of my intersex condition, making it much harder for the Dutch hospitals to continue denying this fact, and the damage they have caused to me by this denial during the past seven years.

While the ruling is subject to a 3 month appeal period before I can use it to change my passport, it's nevertheless useful in kicking off the lawsuit(s) against the Dutch hospitals. Next week probably the first formal complaint will be filed against the VUMC hospital in Amsterdam, specifically their gender team. Yme Drost put up an article on his office's website [1], and also submitted it to the Dutch central news outlet for national and foreign news [2] from where it'll be picked up by national and foreign media channels.

Yme Drost has also shown interest in the other legal matter I have going on, which concerns the refusal of my insurance company, Unive, to fully cover the electrolysis therapy I need to get rid of the excess hairgrowth due to previously elevated hormone levels. Unive's excuse is that 'intersex' is not listed on the list of conditions which qualify for this as provided by the Dutch government and thus they do not have to cover it. At this point SKGZ is negotiating between Unive and me. If that fails, my lawyer will probably take it on.

As for the first item I started with, a few days ago in the official IRC channel for AndEngine, a 2D game engine for Android, I was raging about how the OpenGL ES 2.0 version of AndEngine wasn't working on my phone, which seemed to be due to the native library not being loaded for some reason. Long story short, apparently that phone is capable of reproducing a somewhat rare bug and the AndEngine author, Nicolas Gramlich, wanted to buy my phone as it's not easily available in the US.

Earlier today I sent that phone, the Huawei U8800 IDEOS X5, to California, and apparently tomorrow I'll be receiving the replacement phone I ordered. That phone will be the Huawei U8850 Vision. I can't say I'm unhappy about this cheap upgrade, with the new phone being faster, having Android 2.3.3+ and a front-facing camera. It should allow me to continue developing the AndEngine-based game I have nearly finished and put it up for sale soon.

Major items left now are to get rich and famous :)


[1] (Dutch)
[2] (Dutch)


Jesse said...

Congratulations! This is such good news! Thank you for perservering and helping to improve conditions for intersex people in the future. You are an inspiration!

Is there any chance of an English Language version of the press release being sent out. I think that press in Australia, Ireland, the UK, and the USA would be very interested to hear about your case!


Maya Posch said...

Hi Jesse,

I'd be willing to translate it into English if necessary, though my English legal jargon vocabulary might be a tad lacking. Hit me up via the contact form on my site or something if you can not find a better translator :) I can probably give it a whirl tomorrow otherwise.