Utrecht, Netherlands : Emile Ratelband, 69, a single pensioner has launched a legal battle to change his age so he can go back to work and meet more women on Tinder. The Self-styled positivity guru wants to be recognised as a 49-year-old because he feels 20 years younger, but his application was refused by his local authority. He told Dutch reporters “You can change your name. You can change your gender. Why not your age?”
He argues that if transgender people are legally allowed to change sex, he should be allowed to give himself a new birth date because doctors told him he has the body of a 45-year-old.
The entrepreneur and self-help guru, from the Netherlands, is suing his local authority after they refused the amend his age on official documents.
Mr Ratelband’s case has now gone to a court in the city of Arnhmen in the eastern Dutch provice of Gelderland.
He was born on March 11, 1949, but says he feels at least 20 years younger and wants to change his birth date to March 11, 1969.
Mr Ratelband said: “I have done a check-up and what does it show? My biological age is 45 years.
“When I’m 69, I am limited. 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 say 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.
“Transgenders can now have their gender changed on their birth certificate, and in the same spirit there should be room for an age change.”
He claims he is discriminated against because of his age, and that he encounters problems in society on a daily basis.
He said companies are reluctant to hire someone the age of a pensioner as a consultant.
And he said his move would also be good news for the government as he would be renouncing his pension until he reaches retirement age again.
The judge said that he had some sympathy with Mr Ratelband, but the court said there would be practical problems in allowing people to change their birth date – as it would mean legally deleting part of their lives.
The judge asked Mr Ratelband about the status of his early years, from 1949 to 1969, if his official birth date was put back.
“For whom did your parents care in those years? Who was that little boy back then?” the judge asked.
Marjolein van den Brink, who specializes in human rights and gender issues at Utrecht University’s law school, said age discrimination is a problem but is different than the issues involved in reassigning gender.
“It’s quite clear that elderly people have a much smaller chance of getting a job than younger people,” she said. “But that’s just one element and it’s only something that happens to you once you reach the age of 40, 45, 50, depending a bit on your job.
“Whereas gender is something that follows you from birth to grave, and it determines nearly everything — and not just in the labor market but everywhere,” she said.
In rare cases, even race has also become more fluid.
In Britain, theater director Anthony Ekundayo Lennon has attracted attention in part because despite being the son of white Irish parents, he looks like a mixed-race man. He has also written and told journalists that he thinks of himself as black.
He says he was racially abused as a teenager because of his appearance, and when he started an acting career, he found it easier to pursue non-white parts. He also took an African middle name.
Now some black artists are complaining because Lennon was recently given a paid traineeship in a program designed to give more black people a chance for careers in the arts.
His case resembles in some ways that of Rachel Dolezal, a white woman in the United States who identified herself as black after she was raised by religious parents who had adopted four black children. She was working for the NAACP when her ruse was uncovered in 2015.
Ratelband, the Dutch TV personality, says the Dutch government could benefit if it were to accept his age demand. He said he’d be happy to forfeit his monthly pension of around 1,200 euros ($1,370) — a concession he estimates would save nearly 300,000 euros ($343,000) over the 20 years he wants shaved off his age.
The court in the central city of Arnhem is expected to issue a ruling in about four weeks.
Ratelband, who makes a living urging people and businesses to be positive, denies that the age request is a publicity stunt. He claims he is seeking a personal positive effect.
“Now I’m an old man. I have to save my money to give to my kids so that they can live,” said the father of seven. “But If I have that age again, I have hope again. I’m new again. The whole future is there for me again.”