69-year-old man who wanted to exploit trans law to identify as 49 loses case

69-year-old man who wanted to exploit trans law to identify as 49 loses case
Image: Image: DWDD / YouTube.

Emile Ratelband, the 69-year-old Dutchman who sued to have his age legally changed to 49, has unsurprisingly lost his case.

Ratelband drew ridicule when his case initially made headlines, with activists arguing that his citing trans people’s legal struggles in his quest was highly offensive.

 “With this freedom of choice, choice of name, freeness of gender, I want to have my own age,” Ratelband said at the time.

“When I ask for a mortgage, for example, they say it’s impossible,” he said.

“If I go on Tinder, then I get women from 68, 69 when women are there.”

He has said that “transgenders can now have their gender changed on their birth certificate, and in the same spirit there should be room for an age change.”

But a Netherlands court slapped down his request, saying that there was no evidence that Ratelband had experience discrimination on the basis of his age.

In a statement, the court said its primary reason for denying Ratelband’s request was that “unlike the situation with respect to a change in registered name or gender, there are a variety of rights and duties related to age, such as the right to vote and the duty to attend school.”

“If Mr Ratelband’s request was allowed, those age requirements would become meaningless.

“The court also rejected Mr Ratelband’s argument based on free will, since free will does not extend so far as to make every desired outcome legally possible.

“Mr Ratelband is at liberty to feel 20 years younger than his real age and to act accordingly.

“But amending his date of birth would cause 20 years of records to vanish from the register of births, deaths, marriages and registered partnerships.

“This would have a variety of undesirable legal and societal implications.

“The priority must be to ensure that the public registers contain accurate factual information,” the statement concluded.

Ratelband has vowed to appeal the decision, and has repeatedly said that he is not seeking to minimise the significance of trans people’s battle to be legally recognised.

“The reaction of the judges is fantastic, is great,” he said.

“You know why? Because we have a strategy.”

Ratelband has been roundly mocked for the case in his home country.

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