UTRECHT, the Netherlands – Self-proclaimed guru for positivity Emile Ratelband thinks that age is just a number. And his number, which the Dutchman wants, has changed.
A 69-year-old television personality asked the court in the Netherlands to approve his application for a new birthday that will officially make it 49.
Ratelband claims that his legal appeal is consistent with other forms of personal transformation that gain acceptance and recognition of the government in the Netherlands and around the world.
"Thanks to this free (home) choice, choice of name, genderlessness, I want to have my own age, I want to control myself," he said on Thursday.
Ratelband says he wants to avoid discrimination based on age in society – especially on dating sites.
"So when I ask about a mortgage, they say it's impossible," said The Associated Press. "If I go to Tinder, I will get women aged 68 and 69 when women are there."
Or maybe just be economical with the truth about his age?
"I do not want to lie," he said. "I want to be myself, so do not make me lie."
Marjolein van den Brink, who specializes in human rights and gender issues at the law school of the University of Utrecht, argues that age discrimination is a problem, but is different from the issues of gender transfer.
"It is quite clear that older people have a much lower chance of finding a job than the younger ones," she said. "But this is only one element and it is something that happens to you when you reach the age of 40, 45, 50, depending on your work.
"While sex is something that follows you from birth to the grave, and determines almost everything – and not only on the labor market, but everywhere," she said.
In rare cases, even the breed has become more fluid.
In Britain, theater director Anthony Ekundayo Lennon drew attention in part because, despite being a son of white Irish parents, he looks like a mixed-up man. He wrote and told reporters that he considers himself black.
He says he was abused racially as a teenager because of his appearance, and when he started his acting career, it was easier for him to pursue other than white parts. He also took his second name from Africa.
Now some black artists are complaining because Lennon has recently received a paid internship in a program aimed at giving black people a career chance in art.
His case resembles in a way Rachel Dolezal, a white woman in the United States who described herself as black after being brought up by religious parents who adopted four black children. She worked for NAACP when her trick was discovered in 2015.
Ratelband, the personality of the Dutch television, claims that the Dutch government could benefit if it accepted its demand for ever. He said he would be happy if he lost his monthly pension of about 1,200 euros ($ 1370) – the concession he estimates would save almost 300,000 euros ($ 343,000) in 20 years he wants to shave from his age.
The court in the central city of Arnhem is to issue a verdict in about four weeks.
Ratelband, who makes money on people and companies to be positive, denies that asking for age is an advertising gimmick. He claims that he is looking for a personal positive effect.
"Now I am an old man, I have to save money to give my children so that they can live," said the father of seven. "But if I have this age again, I hope again, I am new again, the whole future is again for me."
Gregory Katz in London contributed.
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