The Development and Impact of the Law on Sex Designation Change in the Netherlands, 1985-2014

This project outlines the development and impact of Dutch legislation regarding sex designation change that was in effect from 1985 to 2014. Until 2014, the Netherlands had strict conditions for people who wanted to change their sex designation officially. They were required to undergo surgeries and other medical treatments to bring about physical changes that made their bodies more in line with the gender they identified with. Moreover, irreversible sterilisation was a strict requirement, and until 2001, married people were obligated to divorce. These conditions had far-reaching consequences.

The research is commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science (OCW), Directorate for Emancipation. It arises from the government’s apologies on November 30, 2020, for the harm and suffering caused by this law. With this research, OCW aims to record and make known the negative consequences this law has had on the people affected by it. 

This project is carried out by a research team from the Radboud Institute for Culture & History (RICH) and is affiliated with the Platform for Diversity in Sex and Gender. The team comprises researchers from RICH’s expertise groups in Cultural History, Political History, the Centre for Parliamentary History, and the Centre for Language Studies.

Participants wanted

For this study, participants are still wanted for in-depth interviews. Are you interested or do you have questions about this study? If so, please contact project leader Dr Marjolein Van Bavel at marjolein.vanbavel [at] (marjolein[dot]vanbavel[at]ru[dot]nl). You can read more about participation below. The document is in Dutch. 

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Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (management board emancipation)

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