A 69-year-old man is using the government’s acceptance of gender reassignment in his bid to have his birthdate legally changed so he can appear 20 years younger on Tinder.
Self-styled positivity guru Emile Ratelband has asked the court in the Netherlands to approve his request for a new birthdate to make him 49, because he thinks age is just a number.
Mr Ratelband said his legal appeal is consistent with other forms of personal transformation that are gaining acceptance and government recognition in his country and around the world.
“With this free[dom] of choice, choice of name, freeness of gender, I want to have my own age. I want to control myself,” Mr Ratelband said Thursday.
He said he wants to avoid age discrimination in society — especially on dating websites.
“So when I ask for a mortgage, for example, they say it’s impossible,” he said. “If I go on Tinder, then I get women from 68, 69 when women are there.”
“I don’t want to lie,” he said. “I want to be myself, so don’t force me to lie.”
Marjolein van den Brink, who specialises in human rights and gender issues at Utrecht University’s law school, said age discrimination is a problem but it is different than the issues involved in reassigning gender.
“It’s quite clear that elderly people have a much smaller chance of getting a job than younger people,” she said. “But that’s just one element and it’s only something that happens to you once you reach the age of 40, 45, 50, depending a bit on your job.
“Whereas gender is something that follows you from birth to grave, and it determines nearly everything — and not just in the labor market but everywhere,” she said.
In rare cases, even race has also become more fluid.
The government ‘could benefit’ from age reduction
Ratelband says the Dutch government could benefit if it were to accept his age demand. He said he’d be happy to forfeit his monthly pension of around $2,144 — a concession he estimates would save nearly $470,000 over the 20 years he wants shaved off his age.
The court in the central city of Arnhem is expected to issue a ruling in about four weeks.
Ratelband, who makes a living urging people and businesses to be positive, denies that the age request is a publicity stunt. He claims he is seeking a personal positive effect.
“Now I’m an old man. I have to save my money to give to my kids so that they can live,” said the father of seven.
“But If I have that age again, I have hope again. I’m new again. The whole future is there for me again.”