Emile Ratelband, 69, answers journalists' questions on Monday in Amsterdam. A court in Amsterdam rejected his request to legally change…
Robin Van Lonkhuijsen / AFP / Getty Images
A 69-year-old Dutchman who lost a legal case on his request to reduce his official age by 20 years says he plans to appeal.
Emile Ratelband says he feels younger than his real age and, as NPR reported earlier, he maintains his life and performance on dating apps would improve if his statutory age was 49. He said he would be prepared to delay to get a pension.
A district court in the eastern Dutch city of Arnhem was not convinced.
“[U]” in relation to the situation with regard to a change in registered name or gender, there are a variety of rights and obligations relating to age, such as voting rights and duty to attend school “, the court wrote in a statement . “If Mr Rattel’s request was allowed, these age requirements would be meaningless.”
There was no evidence that Ratelband had experienced age discrimination, the court said. And it rejected its argument on the basis of free will and wrote that “free will does not extend as far as possible to do everything that is desirable legal”.
“Mr Ratelband has the freedom to feel 20 years younger than his true age and act accordingly” continued the court. “If you change the date of birth, 20 years of registration would be removed from birthbook, death, marriage and registered partnership. It would have a lot of unwanted legal and social consequences.”
Ratelband was not discouraged by the decision. “The referees reaction is amazing, that’s good,” he said.
“You know why? Because we have a strategy,” he added, referring to his plan to appeal the specific reasons given by the referee to reject the change of age.
Ratelband says he expects his appeal to be heard in the coming months.
Ratelband denied bringing his case to criticize or discredit transgender, but he has repeatedly compared his quixotic crusade to their battle to recognize his gender identity.
In the Netherlands, Ratelband’s documents and the international exposure he collected have been met with mockery and bemusement.
“The Netherlands laughs at the crazy Emile, who in the meantime gives interviews around the world,” wrote the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.
It called Ratelband’s claim that he is younger than his true age “absurd”.