A man in Switzerland has exploited an administrative loophole and formally changed his gender in order to retire a year earlier, it has emerged.
New rules introduced on Jan. 1 enable any Swiss resident with the “intimate conviction” that they do not belong to the sex they are registered as in the civil status register can apply to change their gender, in addition to their first name, for just 75 Swiss francs (€72).
And it took just four days for the system to be taken advantage of with Swiss daily Luzerner Zeitung reporting that a man from Lucerne applied to change his gender so that he could receive his state pension at the Swiss retirement age for women of 64, a year earlier than men.
While there are regulations supposedly in place to prevent individuals from making “manifestly abusive” applications, there is in reality “no obligation” on the part of civil servants to “verify the intimate conviction of the persons concerned” and the sincerity of the applicant is presumed in accordance with the principle of good faith.
The policy has raised further questions about how individuals could abuse the system in future to their own benefit, with critics warning that men could use the loophole to avoid a mandatory summons for national service.
One social media user suggested there was nothing stopping a male from applying for a gender change at the age of 17 to avoid military conscription. “At 30, you go back and change your name to man and that’s it,” wrote one user, all for the cost of 150 Swiss francs.
Transgender activists called the above scenario “unrealistic” with Alecs Recher of the Transgender Network Switzerland highlighting “what this would mean in concrete terms for the people in question: they would have to come out to their family, their place of work, their social security,” but could not deny that such a move was not possible.
In fact, Michel Montini of the Federal Office of Justice admitted back in November of last year that there were flaws with the process, insisting that “people could declare themselves a woman just before retirement and leave a year earlier.
“A single man who declares himself a woman can, for example, receive an AVS pension from the age of 64,” Montini added.
Fast forward two months and that is precisely what one individual has opted to do.
The question of trans individuals and gender changes is not limited to pensions, but is also a hot topic when it comes to sport. In countries like the United States, biological men who changed their gender are increasingly competing on women’s sports teams, breaking records, and siphoning off scholarship money from biological females.