A Dutch court has rejected the claims of man who wanted to change his age to be 20 years younger and drew comparisons to the way some people are now legally changing their gender identification.
Emile Ratelband, the 69-year-old man from the Netherlands who wanted to lower his age by 20 years on relevant legal documents, launched a legal battle last month. He reportedly wanted to adjust his age to boost his dating prospects and avoid what he said was discrimination.
"We live in a time when you can change your name and change your gender. Why can't I decide my own age?" Ratelband said.
His legal effort to remove 20 years from his life garnered international attention amid the rise in governments in the West that have made switching gender markers on passports, driver's licenses, and birth certificates relatively easy.
"If I'm 49, then I can buy a new house, drive a different car. I can take up more work," Ratelband 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."
The Dutch court in the eastern city of Arnhem maintained that many rights in the law are based on age and that changing it causes too many problems. Ratelband said during court proceedings that his birth date was incorrect even though he was indeed born on March 11, 1949.
"Mr. Ratelband is at liberty to feel 20 years younger than his real age and to act accordingly," the court said in a statement to the press.
"But amending his date of birth would cause 20 years of records to vanish from the register of births, deaths, marriages and registered partnerships. This would have a variety of undesirable legal and societal implications."
"Rights and obligations are also attached to age ... for example, the right to vote, the right to marry, the opportunity to drink alcohol and to drive a car," the court said. The court further acknowledged, according to NBC News, “a trend in society for people to feel fit and healthy for longer, but did not regard that as a valid argument for amending a person’s date of birth.”
The court held that if it allowed him to become younger legally, it would pave the way for someone to declare to be older. The court also rejected his discrimination claims and the comparison he made with changing ones gender and name, saying that allowing people to do those things had occurred after a worldwide debate whereas no one but Ratelband was advocating for the ability to change age.
The Dutch positivity coach was not discouraged by the court's ruling, calling the decision "great" since "they give all kinds of angles where we can connect when we go in appeal;” he maintains that he is the first of "thousands" of people who want to alter their age.
Ratelband insisted that his trans-age identity is as valid as that of a person who identifies with the opposite sex.
“I say it’s comparable because it has to do with my feeling, with respect about who I think … I am, my identity,” he said.
Last month Ratelband argued that, according to his doctors, he has the body of a 45-year-old, and called himself a "young god." He also said that if he switched his birth date he would renounce his pension.
Ratelband is a recent convert to Buddhism, a trainer in neurolinguistic programming, and is the voice of the character Vladimir Trunkov in the Dutch-language version of the Pixar animated film Cars 2.