“In Belgium, we remove the mention of sex from official documents in absolute indifference”

From the depths of my childhood, I remember a guessing game that I shared with friends. One of us was thinking of a personality and the others had to find out his name by asking all kinds of questions, the first one invariably being ” he or she ? “. Well, it could be that this banal question will soon no longer be politically correct in the kingdom of Tintin.

Indeed, the Constitutional Court of Belgium ruled that the registration of sex with only the possibilities “man” or “woman” discriminated against non-binary, intersex, transgender and others. A bill, prepared by the justice and home affairs ministers, therefore aims to remove such information from the identity card.

→ THE FACTS. Belgium will remove gender from identity cards

Other countries, such as Pakistan or Nepal, responded to the objection by allowing the use of a third genre. This was not retained in the flat country, because creating an additional category there would be perceived by some as a new source of stigmatization.

Exit therefore the indication of the sex of the person on the identity card. Some associations believe that it would be necessary to go further and remove any mention of gender in civil status. Another debate is whether the sex of the child must necessarily be declared at birth, or whether the parents could decide later.

Sex is part of our identities

It is hardly surprising that such questions arise at a time when gender studies. I confess, however, that the old “boomer” (1) that I am feels totally overwhelmed by the turn of the debates. I approve of the awareness of the discrimination experienced by transgender people. From there to removing any mention of sex in official documents, there is a logic that I do not understand. We have gone from the adage ” The exception confirms the rule “ the principle that, in order to avoid exceptions, the rule should be canceled.

→ INVESTIGATION. In the Netherlands, the genre soon to be withdrawn from identity cards

However, sex is part of our identity. And identity, if it is experienced in a relational and non-defensive way, is an element of self-construction that leads to all these others, so different. Thus, the return to favor of any type of folklore underlines the extent to which our contemporaries are looking for roots, for the authentic and the typical, at the heart of a globalization that makes interchangeable.

→ READ ALSO. When “non-binary” young people knock on the school door

My country, for three decades, has become accustomed to this kind of laws called “Anthropological break”. The Belgianness of this story is however especially underlined by the fact that the announcement of this project, overturning a secular tradition, was received by the population in a placid, even indifferent manner. In France, it’s a safe bet that such a symbolic measure would trigger lively debates, with some brandishing the specter of “National shipwreck”, where others would applaud this “Republican victory”

In Magritte’s country, nothing like it. The population is especially wondering how to celebrate Christmas with the inflation which impacts the basket of the housewife and a virus which prevents to gather. Brassens looks like us, when he sings: “Die for ideas, okay, but slow death …” To the panache of Cyrano, my compatriots prefer pragmatism and self-mockery. This is why Belgium is a country where the sweetness of life is quite unequaled, at least for those who love the rain. Does such a lack of involvement annoy you? I can understand it very well, but as a good Belgian, I am not going to quarrel with you for so little.


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