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Swiss government comes out against third-gender option

Third gender street symbol
The Swiss government says the time is not right to introduce a non-binary option for civil registry entries. © Keystone / Melanie Duchene

The Swiss government has rejected the idea of introducing a third gender option or no-gender option for official records.

Responding to two proposals from parliament, it argued “the binary gender model is still strongly anchored in Swiss society”, in a statement published on Wednesday.

“The social preconditions for the introduction of a third gender or for a general waiver of the gender entry in the civil registry currently are not there,” it added.

Such options would require too many changes to the country’s constitution and to laws both at national and cantonal levels, according to the government.

A national ethics commission found in a 2020 report that the time wasn’t yet right for a change to the system. 

Unlike neighbouring Germany and Austria, people in Switzerland are entered into the civil registry as male or female, with no other option.

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