Every so often a court case comes around that gets everyone’s attention. It is shared in news outlets around the globe and catches a lot of people’s attention to the details. It could be something serious like the trial of OJ Simpson or something like the Lawsuit over Hot Coffee from a McDonald’s. This one isn’t nearly as serious as either of those but it still grabs people’s attention. It is about age and how you feel.
A court in the Netherlands ruled that man cannot lower his own age by 20 years legally.
In one of those court cases that had got attention around the world, Dutch resident Emile Ratelband sought to have courts formally lower his age from 69 to 49. He has said that his age made it harder for him to find work and love. Emile has said that his actual age of 69 does not reflect his “Emotional State” and that his request is no more of an issue than having your name or gender legally changed.
The court said otherwise. In a written statement they ruled: “Mr. Ratelband is at liberty to feel 20 years younger than his real age and to act accordingly. 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.” The court further added that “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”.
In reading his reasoning behind this request, I’m not heartbroken over what the court has ruled. He is trying to lower his age because he is having trouble finding a job or a girlfriend. I know a lot of others that are much younger than him that have the same problems. There are a lot of ways to help make things better for yourself.
In the descriptions of him, he is labeled as a “self-styled positivity guru”. I am not even sure what that entails or if being 69 years old is holding him back in doing that. Especially if he is “Self Styled.” The court itself has said that Ratelband had not proven any age discrimination was committed against him. It has said that “there are other alternatives available for challenging age discrimination, rather than amending a person’s date of birth”
Mr. Ratelband, however, doesn’t seem to be rattled by the court’s ruling against him. He said “This is great! The rejection of (the) court is great … because they give all kinds of angles where we can connect when we go in appeal.”
Well, he calls himself a “self-styled positivity guru” so it shouldn’t be a surprise that he is taken this ruling so well. In cases he has said were similar to his own where people trying to have their gender or their name changed, Court rulings against people’s wishes are not taken as well.
In trying to compare his case to others as they are trying to change their legal names or their legal gender, I can see that he may be offending people more than making his case or setting any kind of trend. I do not know what the Dutch feeling is on the Transgendered, but as this case grew in visibility and headlines around the world, I can imagine a number of people taking offense at the comparison.
Despite Ratelband’s positivity in the ruling, it is not known how long the case will remain active in appeals and other arguments, or what Emile Ratelband’s legal age would be by the time the final ruling is made.