Emile Ratelband just may be the male Rachel Dolezal.
Emile Ratelband’s, request to have his age legally changed was denied by a Dutch court on Monday, in a win for people who aren’t assholes the world over. The 69-year-old made infuriating headlines when he claimed that he identified as 49 and demanded to have his birthdate legally changed, comparing his plight to that of transgender folks.
"We live in a time when you can change your name and change your gender. Why can't I decide my own age," he asked, causing me to roll my eyes so hard my brain started to hemorrhage. “I feel much younger than my age, I am a young god, I can have all the girls I want but not after I tell them that I am 69,” Ratelband told AFP. “I feel young, I am in great shape and I want this to be legally recognized because I feel abused, aggrieved and discriminated against because of my age.”
He added, "If I'm 49, then I can buy a new house, drive a different car. 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." Tinder does not, infact, require any kind of legal age verification. Ratelband doesn’t seem to understand that in the age of the internet he could just, you know, *lie*.
Sadly for Ratelband, a Dutch court disagreed, concluding that no legal basis exists for an age change. "Mr. Ratelband is at liberty to feel 20 years younger than his real age and to act accordingly," said the judges said. “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,” they added, as reported by the New York Post.
Ratelband’s request is certainly laughable , but beyond that, this “young god” doesn’t understand why his request is so offensive nor does he seem to understand the serious possible ramifications involved. Conflating a desire to be younger with trans people’s desire to transition writes off the legal need to affirm a person’s gender identity as trivial and superficial, which is already a view used to oppress and stigmatize trans people.
Just as Rachel Dolezal’s insistence that she ‘identifies as black” doesn’t take into account the history and culture of systemic racism, Ratelband’s mocking statement that he should be able to change his age the way trans people ‘change their gender’ is irresponsible and transphobic. Thank you, next!