Adding a new option is not being requested by the Swiss population and would require too many changes, authorities say
Swiss society is not currently asking for people to be allowed to identify as a third gender or no gender at all in public records, the country’s government has assessed. Introducing such an option would entail significant legal and governance changes, it noted.
These were the conclusions reached by the Swiss Federal Council in a report written in response to proposals by the parliament and released on Wednesday. Such a change would have long-reaching ramifications, the document said, even as the issue was “hardly discussed” in the country.
The traditional binary system, in which every citizen is assigned either ‘male’ or ‘female’ at birth, “is still strongly anchored in Swiss society,” it said, and conditions for amending it “are not there.” It cited a 2020 report by the national ethics commission to support the assessment.
If a third option were to be introduced, Switzerland would have to make many changes in its federal and canton laws, the government added, referring to the 26 states comprising the country, which have a great deal of autonomy. In particular, the laws regulating mandatory military service are gender-based, it noted.
The Swiss authorities would also need to reorganize various registries and adjust how statistics are collected to accommodate a new gender system, the government said.
Some European countries, including Germany and Austria, allow citizens to pick a ‘third gender’ or decline to identify their gender in legal documents.