Male, female, diverse

Maybe you’ve already noticed: since the end of last year, the addition “m/f/d” has been appended to the job title in all job ads published by Krones. The “d” stands for “diverse” and relates to people who cannot be assigned to either the male or female gender. In appending this addition, Krones has reacted to an amendment to the German Civil Status Act that came into force on 1 January 2019.

A person’s “civil status” includes not only the name but also the data relating to family law, such as birth or marriage. These are entered in the register of births, marriages and deaths, which is kept by the registry offices. As far as gender is concerned, the register had so far known only two options – male and female. There was an alternative option of omitting an entry here entirely.

In conflict with the right of personality

There is a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court dating back to October 2017, stating that this procedure is incompatible with the German constitution because it ignores the fact that there are people who by reason of their biological characteristics cannot be unambiguously assigned to either the male or the female gender. Since the right of personality formulated in the German constitution provides protection not least for a person’s gender-related identity, no persons may be compelled to register a gender that does not correspond to their actual identity. In the wake of this ruling, the German federal government was called upon to amend the Civil Status Act accordingly by the end of 2018. This is why there has since 1 January 2019 been an option for entering “diverse” as a third gender in the register of births, in addition to “male” and “female”. The federal government estimates that this new arrangement relates to up to 160,000 persons in Germany.

The extent to which recognition of the third gender will affect labour legislation and other regulations will presumably only be revealed over the next few years. The “f/m/d” appended to the job title is an unequivocal expression on the part of many companies, including Krones, that their job ads are already directed equally at applicants of all genders.

By the way: what does “diverse” actually mean?

In the debates entailed by the new legislation, the terms “intersexual” and “transsexual” are frequently used interchangeably even though they designate two highly different states: intersexual persons, due to their biological characteristics, cannot be unambiguously assigned to either the male or the female gender. Transsexual persons, by contrast, are as far as their anatomy is concerned born either as a boy or a girl but they feel they do not belong to that gender. In accordance with the new legislation, the right to be registered as “diverse” is given exclusively to intersexual persons. That is why for many critics the amendment does not go far enough since it excludes transsexual persons.