Germany facilitates gender change


The German cabinet on Wednesday signed off plans to help people change their legal gender more easily, but the proposals have stirred criticism from feminists, politicians and even the trans community.

Under the plans, Germans will be able to change their name or legal gender by making a simple application to their local registry office.

They will not have to give a reason or provide 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.

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

It will take three months for a gender switch to take effect and no further changes will be allowed for a year.

The legislation, which needs to be signed off by parliament, is intended to replace a law known as the Transsexuals Act dating back to 1980.

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

‘Paradigm shift’

The changes would 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.

Families Minister Lisa Paus said the updated law would protect “the right of every person to be recognised in their gender identity and to be treated with respect”.

“Those affected were discriminated against for more than 40 years by the Transsexuals Act. This is now finally over,” she said.