Germany passes self-determination law

The German government pushes the self-determination law through the Bundestag. But not without a heated exchange before the vote. From November onwards, gender can be changed using a speech act.

The Bundestag passed the Self-Determination Act on Friday. The government coalition gives transgender people the opportunity to change their gender entry and first name more easily. This also makes access to medication and medical interventions easier. The bill also includes a broad ban on trans people disclosing themselves to third parties. In the adopted version, this also includes family members if they act with the intent to cause harm.

In addition to the members of the governing coalition, the Left Party group also voted for the law. A total of 374 MPs decided in favor of the proposal, 251 against it. These include the AfD faction, the Union faction and the BSW group. There were eleven abstentions.

Trans MPs thank you for the self-determination law

“With today’s law, we are taking a first big step towards a more self-determined society,” said transgender Green Party member Nyke Slawik in the Bundestag. She then thanked everyone who made the law possible. The federal government's queer commissioner, Sven Lehmann (Greens), found similar words. Decades of humiliation caused by the transsexual law are now over.

There was criticism from the opposition. CDU MP Mareike Wulf criticized the lack of youth protection measures. It would be too easy to have your name changed in the office in the future without justification. Unrest broke out after Sarah Wagenknecht's speech. “Gender is changing from a biological fact to a question of state of mind,” said the left-wing rebel. After her speech, Bundestag Vice President Petra Pau (Left Party) had to warn the MPs to calm down.

AfD criticizes the lack of child protection

“But a man does not become a woman if he puts on a wig and a stereotypical low-cut dress,” said AfD MP Martin Reichert. Likewise, a woman cannot become a man. “This is all ideological nonsense.” That’s why his group rejects this “nonsensical law”.

In an interim comment, his party colleague Beatrix von Storch (AfD) pointed out the possibility of changing the gender entry again after a year. The deadline for this is shorter for minors. The politician sees this as confirmation that the government coalition factions also recognize the volatile nature of children's self-perception. The law must better protect young people from hasty decisions.

The Self-Determination Act will come into force in two stages. From August 1, 2024, requests for changes to the gender entry can be submitted to the responsible offices. This means that the three-month deadline for changing the entry can be met by November 1, 2024. Then it replaces the Transsexual Act of 1980.

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