German coalition works on new transgender legislation


Central Europe


Photo Unsplash, Marc Stress

The liberal coalition in Germany wants to make it easier for people to change their gender legally. Therefore, it presented a new bill.

In the future, people who want to change their gender legally should only have to fulfil a simple administrative act. The German government wants to achieve that with its new transgender legislation, PRO reports. If the bill, drafted by Federal Minister for Family Affairs Lisa Paus (Greens) and Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP), is passed, Germans will only have to express their desire at a registry office to be able to change their gender in their identification documents. They do not need to undergo surgical gender reassignment or change their appearance.

Currently, transgender people need two psychiatric evaluations to be able to alter their legal gender. A court then decides whether they are allowed to. Buschmann finds that the law treats transgender people as sick. Often, the evaluations include intimate questions that can be perceived as degrading.

Under the new law, minors between 14 and 18 can only change their gender with the consent of their parents. If parents disagree, a family judge has to decide.

Critical voices

Changing the transgender legislation has been part of the coalition agreement of the current German government. In it, they already announced that gender reassignment should be covered by health insurance. That is not yet found in the draft law. It only deals with the change of civil status, PRO writes.

Child protection organisations say to be happy with the draft law. The German Children's Fund noted that many children suffered because of gender decisions contrary to their will.

However, there are also critical voices. MP Beatrix von Storch from the AfD says the new bill is an "ideology project". She fears that women will be endangered by dealing with men who define themselves as women.

Sebastian Sass writes in a commentary in Die Tagespost that the new transgender law will lead to arbitrariness if it is implemented. "A person will leave the registry office the same way as he came in. He will remain what he is. Except that he is now forcing everyone else to call him whatever he wants to be." According to Sass, the registry office is converted into a "certification machine for individual requests." "Bureaucracy triumphs over biology", he writes.

The bill makes gender an arbitrary category, which is dangerous, Jonathan Steinert writes in an opinion article in PRO. According to him, the new law would enable someone to change his gender as often as he wants. That brings along risks for young people, who can change their gender without parental consent if a judge allows them to. "What is the best interest of the child here? And how is that determined", Steinert questions. He points out that gender change requests should not always be taken seriously as adolescents go through a developmental phase during puberty. Furthermore, he points out that studies and doctors have shown several long-term negative consequences of hormone therapies or surgical gender reassignments.

"It cannot be overlooked that this new bill is motivated more by ideology than by the intention to solve problems", he concludes.



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