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15 Apr, 2024 15:15

Germans can now change gender every year

A bill adopted by the Bundestag allows parents to register children as young as five as a different sex
Germans can now change gender every year

German citizens will be able to change their sex on legal documents without undergoing surgery or hormone therapy, under a new bill passed by the Bundestag last Friday. It stipulates that an oral request is sufficient, eliminating the need for expert assessment, which was previously mandatory. The law comes into effect in November.

The legislation on ‘self-determination’ in gender was backed by 374 MPs, mostly from the ruling ‘traffic-light’ coalition, with another 251 lawmakers against and the remaining 11 abstaining.

The current regulations date back to 1981, and state that individuals wishing to change their gender must first undergo two psychological evaluations. The final decision under that law rests with a district court.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s ruling coalition argued that the existing procedures were degrading toward transgender individuals, as they had to share intimate details with officials.

Under the new law, parents will be allowed to make a request to change the gender of a child as young as five, with the consent of the child present. Minors over 14 will be able to change their first name and gender alone, as long as they have the consent of their parents or legal representatives.

Individuals will be allowed to make a change once per year.

Germans will also have the right to replace the words ‘mother’ and ‘father’ in the family register with the neutral term ‘parent.’

Non-binary individuals can register as ‘diverse’ instead of having to choose between ‘male’ and ‘female.’

Under the recently passed legislation, anyone who attempts to expose an individual’s past gender identity can be fined up to €10,000 ($10,630).

The law leaves it up to saunas, swimming pools, gyms, and other sports facilities to decide whether to allow biological males into women’s changing rooms and toilets. When it comes to competitive sports, individual associations may decide if biological males identifying as women can compete against females.

The bill faced heated debate in the Bundestag on Friday, with the government’s commissioner for LGBTQ+ issues, Sven Lehmann, hailing it as historic and ending “human rights abuse.”

However, opposition parties were largely unconvinced, with a lawmaker from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Mareike Wulf, describing the legislation as “irresponsible” and “socially explosive.” Wulf also argued that criminals could use the new regulations to obscure their identity.

Sahra Wagenknecht, a former leader of the Left Party who now leads her own party, warned that with males now allowed to proclaim themselves female, “women’s protection rights and women’s protection shelters [are] a thing of the past.”

A representative of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party said the bill poses a threat to young people, denouncing it as “trans-hype.”

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