Story By: Koen Berghuis, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
The Dutch pensioner in a legal battle to be recognised as 20 years younger has said he is disappointed he will not be 70 instead of 50 on his next birthday and plans to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights.
Emile Ratelband, 69, argued that if transgender people are allowed to change sex he should be allowed to change his age. And he said he had been spurred into action to take it to a higher court because his children were laughing at him because instead of turning 50 on 11th March next year he will now turn 70.
Picture Credits: CEN
Ratelband said: “Officially it will be my 70th birthday. My children are of course rolling on the floor laughing, saying ‘are you turning 50 now yet again or not?'”
He had pointed out doctors had told him he had the body of a 45-year-old, and added: “Transgenders can now have their gender changed on their birth certificate, and in the same spirit there should be room for an age change.”
But the court in Arnhem, located in the province of Gelderland in the East of the Netherlands, denied Ratelband’s request in a written ruling on Monday.
The Dutchman said that despite being made fun of by his own children he will “lodge an appeal within three months” as he said he feels the support of society.
Ratelband said: “There are enough holes [in the court’s decision] for an appeal. I already understood that. Because we are talking here about the zeitgeist, we are talking about emotion and feeling.”
The Dutch positivity guru added: “Everyone thinks: that Ratelband is completely crazy, and that will also remain so. But I say: this is fantastic! This is going completely according to plan, because we developed a strategy.”
Ratelband said he feels the support for his cause through the huge media interest in him saying since he started his legal battle he has given 4,500 interviews to the world press.
He said: “I was just on the phone for an hour with The Washington Post. Even they are covering it. I just think like: because I started it, I will finish it.”
Ratelband added that “seven years of legal procedures with his ex-wife” has given him the stamina and experience to see the case through.
Picture Credits: CEN
Referring to himself in third person, he said: “I can decide myself what I do with my money. Everyone is entitled to his opinion, but Ratelband can also have his. With Ratelband there is never a dull moment.”
The Arnhem court wrote in its ruling on Monday that the age change request cannot be accepted as Dutch laws and jurisprudence do not give room for it.
The court wrote: “Especially because all kinds of rights and duties, such as voting rights and compulsory attendance at school are linked to age, which is not the case with name and gender changes.”
According to the court, there is a tendency in society which sees pensioners being vigorous and fit to increasingly high ages, but this cannot be an argument to change someone’s age.
The judges also highlighted the many practical problems which would appear if Ratelband were to be given the right to change his age.
Ratelband said that one of the main reasons to have his age lowered is that he will be able to pick up more girls.
He said: “When I’m on Tinder and it says I’m 69, I don’t get an answer. When I’m 49, with the face I have, I will be in a luxurious position.”