Details of the Self-Determination Act are available

federal government

Details of the Self-Determination Act are available

View of a session of the German Bundestag in the plenary hall of the Reichstag building.

View of a session of the German Bundestag in the plenary hall of the Reichstag building.

Photo: Jörg Carstensen/dpa

The “Self-Determination Act” to make it easier to change the gender entry and first name is one of the socio-political projects of the traffic light. Details of a draft law are now becoming known.

Berlin. In the event of a defense, men should not be able to avoid a possible draft by changing their gender entry. This provides for a special regulation in the planned self-determination law for traffic lights. The federal justice and family ministries submitted a finished draft for the project to the internal government vote. It is available to the German Press Agency. It also contains other special regulations and clarifications, for example with regard to sports, competitions, changing rooms, the prison system or quota regulations in companies.

The queer commissioner of the federal government, Sven Lehmann (Greens), told the dpa that one was a decisive step further. He expressed the hope that the law would be introduced in the federal cabinet before the summer recess. “This is the first time a federal government has taken the initiative to replace the discriminatory law on transsexuals after more than 40 years.” After the cabinet, the law still has to go through the Bundestag and Bundesrat. It is still unclear when it can come into force.

You can easily change first names

The traffic light parties had agreed on the project in their coalition agreement. According to the plans, everyone in Germany should in future be able to determine their gender and first name themselves and change them in a simple procedure at the registry office. According to the Ministry of Family Affairs and Justice, the law is aimed at transgender, intersex and non-binary people.

According to the information, “trans” includes people who do not identify or only identify with the gender that was assigned to them at birth. “Inter” means having congenital physical characteristics “that cannot be clearly classified as (only) male or (only) female according to medical standards”. “Non-binary” is defined as a self-designation for people who identify as neither male nor female.

According to the explanatory memorandum to the draft law, the current transsexual law is based on a “medically outdated, pathologizing understanding of transgenderness”. In the future, no one should have to go through court proceedings or require medical certificates and expert opinions to change the gender entry. A simple declaration at the registry office is sufficient. Family and justice ministries expect about 4,000 cases per year.

Conservatives criticize law

The law has been criticized by conservatives and the right. The name “Self-Determination Act” already suggests that gender identity must be freely selectable for everyone at all times, according to the CDU and CSU. The deputy AfD parliamentary group leader Beatrix von Storch described the project as a “slap in the face to women who have to deal with men who define themselves as women”.

Fears that have been expressed that men could now declare themselves to be women with malicious intent and break into women’s changing rooms or that convicts could try to get into women’s prisons by changing their entry are countered by the draft law with clarifications:

The law does not create a right to access to protected rooms. Private house rights remain unaffected. Owners of women’s fitness studios or saunas, for example, continue to decide on access themselves within the framework of the applicable laws. In detention centers, the accommodation of prisoners does not have to be based solely on the gender entry, it is said. Personal rights and security interests of other prisoners could prevent transfer to a women’s prison.

Protect against discrimination

Family Minister Lisa Paus (Greens) criticized the discussion a few days ago: “Fears are fueled that have nothing to do with reality,” she said in “Zeit online”. The Self-Determination Act is about recognizing the gender identity of the persons concerned and protecting them from stigmatization and discrimination.

In principle, according to the information, the entries “male”, “female” and “diverse” should remain in the civil status register in the future, and it is still possible to enter no information. Changes to the first name or gender entry can still be made multiple times. However, at least one year must pass before a new change is made.

The new name or gender entry should be valid for three months after the declaration has been submitted; the change can also be withdrawn up until then. Children up to the age of 14 cannot make changes themselves at the registry office. Only the guardians can do that. From the age of 14, the declaration can be made yourself, but the legal guardians must agree.

© dpa-infocom, dpa:230427-99-479172/2 (dpa)

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