Dutch man, 69, starts le­gal fight to iden­tify as 20 years younger

The Guardian Australia - - Headlines - Daniel Bof­fey in Brus­sels

A 69-year-old Dutch “pos­i­tiv­ity guru” who says he does not feel his age has started a battle to make him­self legally 20 years younger on the grounds that he is be­ing dis­crim­i­nated against on a dat­ing app.

Emile Ratel­band told a court in Arn­hem in the Nether­lands that he did not feel “com­fort­able” with his date of birth, and com­pared his wish to al­ter it to peo­ple who iden­ti­fied as trans­gen­der.

Ratel­band said that due to hav­ing an of­fi­cial age that did not re­flect his emo­tional state he was strug­gling to find both work and love. He has asked for his date of birth to be changed from 11 March 1949 to 11 March 1969.

“When I’m 69, I am lim­ited. If I’m 49, then I can buy a new house, drive a dif­fer­ent car,” he said. “I can take up more work. 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.”

Doc­tors had told him his body was that of a 45-year-old man, Ratel­band ar­gued. He de­scribed him­self as a “young god”.

The judge con­ceded that the abil­ity to change gen­der was a de­vel­op­ment in the law. “I agree with you: a lot of years ago we thought that was im­pos­si­ble,” he said. But he asked the ap­pli­cant how his par­ents would feel about 20 years of Ratel­band’s life be­ing wiped off the records.

“For whom did your par­ents care? Who was that lit­tle boy then?” the judge asked.

Ratel­band, a mo­ti­va­tional speaker and trainer in neu­rolin­guis­tic pro­gram­ming, said his par­ents were dead.

He also said he was will­ing to re­nounce his right to a pen­sion to en­sure there were no un­fore­seen con­se­quences of his age change.

At the end of a 45-minute court ses­sion, Ratel­band said: “It is re­ally a ques­tion of free will.”

Ratel­band’s lawyer, Jan-Hein Kui­jpers, said it was high time for the re­ver­sal of age.

The pub­lic pros­e­cu­tor in the court asked whether the abil­ity to change a date of birth in the law would re­quire health in­spec­tions in the fu­ture, to al­low the state to cor­rectly judge some­one’s “emo­tional age”.

Kui­jpers told the court: “There is also some­thing like com­mon sense, of course.”

Getty Images Pho­to­graph: Roland Heitink/AFP/

‘Young god’: Emile Ratel­band said be­ing 49 would put him ‘in a lux­u­ri­ous po­si­tion’ in terms of life and love.

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