A Dutch man has lost his request to have his date of birth legally changed to be 20 years younger.
We live in a day and age when a human being can perform unprecedented changes to their own bodies. Missing an arm? You can get a bionic replacement. Have faulty vision? You can get laser eye surgery. Suffer from gender dysmorphia? You can undergo gender reassignment surgery and then legally change your gender.
But there’s one thing you can’t change, and that’s the day you were born. Unless we build a time machine or something.
Dutch motivation speaker Emile Ratelband argued that just because you were born in the ‘40s doesn’t mean you should have 1949 listed as your birth year. His argument was that since people can change their official name and gender then why not their birth year?
So he petitioned the Dutch court to actually change his age. The move was widely panned by critics as wildly insensitive to the discrimination that trans people endure on an everyday.
However, Ratelband’s request was denied on Monday. Arnhem District Court said in a statement: “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 court added, noting that much of Dutch law is based around age. Driving, alcohol and drug consumption, voting rights, and mandatory school attendance are all based on one’s date of birth, and being able to change that one way would allow children to drive or possibly force the elderly back into grade school.
The court did acknowledge that people are living healthier, longer lives, but that was insufficient reason to change a date of birth.
Ratelband seemed oddly upbeat about the court’s decision. “This is great!” he said. “The rejection of (the) court is great ... because they give all kinds of angles where we can connect when we go in appeal.”
The Dutch court also rejected Ratelband’s argument that he suffered from age discrimination, stating there were multiple avenues to address that issue other than legally changing your own date of birth.