Germany unveils plans to simplify gender change process
Trans people in Germany will have an easier time formally changing their gender and name under a new government plan. Self-determination will replace the requirement for two expert reports and court approval.
BERLIN - Germany's government agreed to simplify the administrative procedure for people wanting to change genders, a move long demanded by the LGBTQ community, a spokesman for the ruling party said on Saturday.
"As a parliamentary group of the [ruling] SPD, we expressly welcome the fact that the law on self-determination is finally moving forward," Jan Plobner, spokesman for the Social Democrat party on issues concerning transgender people in the Bundestag, told AFP.
Under the agreement, which was revealed by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily, transgender, intersex and non-binary people will in the future have only to self-declare if they wish to change their first name or gender notation in the civil registry.
The procedure had been governed by a law dating from the 1980s that considered trans issues mental illness.
Those wanting to change their gender were obliged to submit two psychological evaluations with a court ultimately taking the decision.
That procedure is long, costly, and deemed degrading by those concerned.
"The undignified procedure will soon be a thing of the past," Plobner said.
The agreement between the justice and family ministries will allow the bill to be finalised, "so that the legislation can hopefully be applied soon," said Sven Lehmann, the government's representative for the rights of the LGBTQ community.
It notably resolves the sensitive issue of gender changes for minors, according to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.
For those under 14, only parents or guardians will be able to initiate proceedings.
For those over 14 whose parents would oppose such a move, it is a court that will have to decide.
A time for reflection is also planned, with the civil change only coming into effect after a cooling-off period of three months.
A new request for a gender change will only be possible after a year.
The government of Social Democrat Chancellor Olaf Scholz, allied with the Greens and Liberals, has vowed to fight discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
In November 2022, it adopted a wide-ranging plan of action that included a specific codification of the community's rights in the constitution.