A Dutch motivational speaker, 69, has kicked off a battle to legally lower his age by 20 years in order to boost his employment chances and, he says, stop being discriminated against on Tinder according to him.
Emile Ratelband said he wants to change his birthday to March, 11, 1969 — 20 years to the day after he was actually born in 1949.
He told the Dutch court in the small town of Arnhem, 96 kilometres east of Amsterdam, that his wish was comparable to people changing their sex if they identified as transgender.
Last Monday, he says city officials told him it was “impossible because it’s never happened before” and laughed at him. But Ratelband contends that there is no law “forbidding him” from changing his age.
“If you don’t like your name, you can change your name. If you don’t like your sex, you can change your sex. So I thought we also have to do this with age,” Ratelband told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview Thursday.
He argued that if children of the Dutch soldiers who alongside the Nazis could change their name, why shouldn’t he? The former TV personality said he’d be willing to renounce his pension if he won his case.
He says his doctor told him his biological age was closer to 40 to 42 years old because he has lived a “fairly healthy” life the past 40 years — no smoking or drugs, including caffeine, and regularly playing sports.
Ratelband says his doctor even called him a “young god.”
“I’m so vibrant, so active and so healthy and I was suffering the pain that I felt like I was 48 but I didn’t have the guts to change my birth certificate,” he said. “I think this is a very good example of changing the world.”
Despite having a relatively successful career as a positivity guru and self-described “consciousness expander,” he says his age gets in the way of getting more matches on dating apps.
“When you’re 69 on Tinder, nobody reacts. And a friend told me you can change your birthday and do a little bit of Photoshop-ing,” he said. “But I’m not going to lie on Tinder.”
So if he’s legally 49, he said wouldn’t be hoodwinking any prospective dates.
He says he noticed that most of the unemployed people in his town were over 50 years old and claims that citizens older than 60 years rarely get mortgages.
“(For) many people around the age of 50-55, life is already over,” Ratelband said. He says the whole case boils down to “making the most of your life.”
More than half a century ago, a person’s path in life and identity was more locked in, Ratelband argues. Ratelband says he told the court that the world has changed and people are “more independent” too.
Ratelband says he has a “great hope” of winning his case and having the judges tell him: “Mr. Ratelband, it is completely right what you say, you’re free to do so.”
He sees himself as a pioneer and expects “a lot of people” to follow his example. But if the case doesn’t shake out the way, he says he’ll simply take it to a higher court.