The German government has revealed plans to make it easier for transgender people to have their chosen gender and first name legally recognised. The proposed “self-determination” law would replace the current “transsexual law”.
New proposed law set to streamline gender change process
On Thursday, German Family Affairs Minister Lisa Paus announced that the government is set to make the gender change process a lot easier. The proposed “self-determination” law will allow adults to simply visit their local registry office and declare a change to their first name and gender. Children aged 14 and above will also be able to benefit from this law, provided they have permission from a parent or guardian.
The self-determination law will replace Germany’s transsexual law. Current legislation obliges people to seek court approval to change their name and gender, for which they need to provide two expert reports, usually from psychotherapists.
Germany’s ruling coalition had previously promised to abolish the transsexual law and is expected to approve the law by the end of the year, according to Justice Minister Marco Buschmann. Once the law has been approved, it will still need to pass through parliament.
Germany following example of other European countries
Germany would not the first country to allow legal gender change through self-declaration. The system is already in place in several other European countries, including Denmark, Belgium and Switzerland. "The right to live a self-determined life is fundamental to all people," Paus said at a press conference in Berlin. "We live in a free and diverse society that is already further along in many places than our laws are. It's about time that we adapt the legal framework to societal reality.”
Paus said that the process required by Germany’s transsexual law is "not just lengthy and expensive but also deeply humiliating. But above all, is it completely superfluous." However, any legal gender changes made under the new self-determination law mean that no further changes can be made within the following year, so as to "ensure the seriousness of the desire to change."
Paus also explained that the new law will allow for fines to be given where a name or gender change is revealed without prior permission.