Germany to allow gender self-identification

The German government has presented plans to enable people who believe their gender differs from their biological sex to self-identify as the gender of their choice, in the eyes of the law, without having to go to a doctor or other third party or change their body in any way. They can change their name and gender up to once a year.

Under the planned “self-determination law,” adults would be able to change their first name and legal gender at registry offices without further formalities. A similar law has existed in Ireland since 2015 which was passed without debate. England recently rejected a gender self-identification proposal. Women’s rights group applauded the decision of the English Government on the grounds that allowing anyone to self-identify as a woman is eroding women’s rights.

The existing “transsexual law, in Germany” which took effect in 1981, currently requires individuals to obtain assessments from two experts whose training and experience makes them “sufficiently familiar with the particular problems of transsexualism” and then a court decision to change the gender on official documents.

Over the years, Germany’s top court has struck down other provisions that required transgender people to get divorced and undergo gender-transition surgery.

The decision follows moves by German lawmakers at the end of June who voted to end the country’s ban on advertising abortions. Previous German governments were concerned that advertising abortion would increase demand for it.

Government parties and the Left party voted to lift the restriction, while the center-right Christian Democrats and the far-right Alternative for Germany voted against.