In the future, trans people should be able to change their official gender entry and their first name much more easily than before. The federal government wants to ensure this with a self-determination law. This is what the traffic light plans look like.
Those affected and their supporters have fought for this for many years, and now the controversial transsexual law is actually to be abolished. Instead, the traffic light coalition wants to use a self-determination law to ensure that a simple declaration at the registry office is sufficient to change a person’s gender or first name. Those affected should also be protected from an unwanted coming out.
What regulation has been in place for trans people so far?
The Transsexuals Act, which dates back to 1980, stipulates that those affected must submit two psychological reports in order to change their gender or first name entry. In the end, the competent district court decides. The law has long been controversial; Parts of the regulations were rejected by the Federal Constitutional Court. Those affected criticize the procedure as lengthy, expensive and degrading.
What should apply in the future?
Adult trans people should be able to make the desired changes with a simple declaration at the registry office. According to Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann (FDP), there will probably be a standardized form for this. After the change, official documents such as the passport will also be rewritten accordingly. The declaration at the registry office does not have to be accompanied by expert opinions or detailed explanations and is independent of the extent to which the person concerned decides to undergo gender reassignment surgery.
What about people under 18?
For children under 14, the parents should be able to submit the necessary declaration to the registry office. Young people from the age of 14 can do this themselves, but only with the consent of their parents. If there are conflicts within the family, the family court can be involved. The cornerstones of Buschmann and Federal Family Minister Lisa Paus (Greens) also envisage that the counseling services for affected families will be improved.
What about intersex people?
People whose sex characteristics do not allow clear assignment to the categories man or woman can already have their entries changed at the registry office more easily than trans people who feel they belong to a different gender than what is stated on their birth certificate. For intersex people, a doctor’s certificate or an affidavit, which must be submitted to the registry office, is sufficient. In the future, the same rules should apply to them as to trans people.
How often can the gender entry or first name be changed?
There is no provision for a numerical limit. However, there should be a blocking period of one year — only after that can it be changed again. “This serves to protect against haste and is intended to ensure the seriousness of the change request,” says the key issues paper.
What else is in the paper?
There should be a “disclosure ban subject to fines” – meaning that it is forbidden to disclose a trans person’s former gender or first name against their will. Anyone who does so must expect a fine. It’s about preventing a “forced coming out,” said Paus.
What questions are still open?
There should be compensation for victims of the earlier legal regulations, but the details are still unclear. According to the key issues paper, “recognition services for transgender and intersex people who are affected by physical harm or forced divorce due to previous legislation” are planned.
An “interim solution” for transgender parents is also planned. The issue here is how a child’s birth certificate will be altered if a parent has the gender entry or name changed. The traffic light coalition wants to finally clarify this with the planned reform of the law of descent, which is still a long time coming. The change of a gender-specific surname, in turn, is to be regulated with the naming law reform also agreed in the coalition agreement.
According to Paus, the draft of the self-determination law should be passed in the federal cabinet before the end of the year. Then the Bundestag deals with it. According to Paus, the law will be passed in the Bundesrat. not subject to approval.