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More than eight out of 10 people in Switzerland agree that there are more than two genders, while the other 18 percent continue to believe in a socially constructed binary gender system, research on 2,700 Swiss residents found.
While a lot of people still see themselves in identities associated with the socially constructed binary, gender nonconformity and fluidity are being embraced more fully with under 15 percent of respondents categorizing themselves as “exclusively” one of either gender in the binary.
A person’s political opinions also influenced their understanding of their gender: ‘While 55 percent of respondents said that gender is important or very important for their own identity, among men there was an ideological divide. Sixty-two percent of right-wing men said being a man is important to them, while only 12 percent of left-wing men said the same,’ PinkNews reports.
These findings coincide with Switzerland’s move to improve access to self-determining gender on identification documents for people aged 16 and above, by removing the invasive barriers of providing proof of gender-affirming care.
However, the new law now makes it tougher for children below the age of 16 to self-determine their gender: they would need guardian consent – which wasn’t a previous pre-requisite.
“Some cantons - semi-autonomous regions in federal Switzerland - also require a person to undergo hormone treatment or anatomical transition in order to legally change gender, while, for a name change, proof could be required that the new name has already been unofficially in use for several years,” Reuters reports.
Switzerland is considered “traditionally conservative” and was among the last in European countries to support marriage equality and adoption for same-gender couples through legislation passed this year.
It is being seen as at the “forefront” for self-determination with these new rules but still follows the gender binary system. The Swiss Federal Council is working on reports to address parliamentary motions that aim to introduce more gender options, and to remove gender altogether.
Countries that center autonomy by using simple processes to self-determine gender include Norway, Portugal, Malta, Argentina, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland and Luxembourg.