Gender diversity in the Netherlands

Most people identify with the gender based on their sex at birth: male or female. However, around 2% of the Dutch population has difficulty identifying with their assigned sex.

By means of its national and international LGBT policy, the Dutch government also wishes to protect the equal rights of the T in this group: transgender people.

From the third sex and transsexuality...

At the start of the 20th century, it was common in the Netherlands to view homosexuals as ‘the third sex’. Homosexuals were seen as a separate sex between male and female. In addition, sexual and romantic feelings for the opposite sex were grouped together with feelings of dissatisfaction with your biological sex.

After the Second World War, homosexuality became a sexual preference, while the men who felt like women and the women who felt like men were named transsexuals. gender diversity

However, there were not only people who felt trapped in the wrong body. There were also large numbers of people who didn’t see themselves as either men or women, or who saw themselves as both. These people do not seek gender reassignment with help of hormones and surgery.

Since the 1990s, the umbrella term transgender has been used to refer to people whose gender identity and/or behaviour do not fully match their assigned sex.

Read more about transgender (in)equality

In recent years, great strides have been made in the Netherlands with regard to transgender emancipation. Transgender people are now more visible than ever before in public. Many organisations now lobby for the interests and rights of transgender people, and the Dutch government also pays attention to their situation.

This section takes a closer look at the situation of transgender people and Dutch domestic policies on:

You can also read more about the differences between the terms transgender, transvestite and transsexual and the organisations involved with the issue of gender diversity.


A World of Difference, (Rutgers, 2015)

Transgender Network Netherlands

last modified Oct 20, 2016 05:31 PM
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