Germany passes law to ease legal gender change

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The German parliament on Friday approved a law making it easier for people to change their legal gender, in a move hailed as a “milestone” by campaigners.

Under the new law, Germans will be able to change their legal gender by making a simple application to their local registry office, without giving a reason or any medical information.

In the case of children under 14, parents will be able to submit the application. Minors over 14 may do it themselves, but only with the consent of their parents.

In both cases, the young person must have had counselling.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the new law showed “respect for trans, intersex and non-binary people — without taking anything away from others”.

The changes will bring Germany in line with Belgium, Spain, Ireland, Luxembourg and Denmark, which have also passed legislation to make it easier for people to change their legal gender.

On the other extreme, Hungary and Russia have recently imposed rules that largely ban changing gender.

The British government in 2022 stepped in to block the devolved Scottish parliament from further simplifying gender changes.

Sweden has authorised physical and legal gender reassignment since 1972, but last year began restricting hormone therapy for minors, following a similar move by Finland in 2020.

Amnesty International hailed Germany’s change as a “milestone” and “an important and long overdue step for the rights of trans, intersex and non-binary people”.

The legislation is intended to replace a law known as the Transsexuals Act dating back to 1980.

Under that law, anyone in Germany who wanted to change their legal gender was forced to submit two psychological reports with the final decision laying with a court.

There will be no limit to how often someone can change their legal gender, but it will take three months for a gender switch to take effect and no further changes will be allowed for a year.

The law also includes penalties for anyone who “outs” a trans person without their permission.

Sven Lehmann, the government’s representative for the rights of the LGBTQ community, said the previous law had “caused a lot of suffering”.

“Today we are finally putting an end to this,” he said.


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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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