The German Cabinet has approved a law that would make it easier for trans and intersex folks to legally change their name and gender. If also approved by Parliament, the law would allow Germans to make the changes by merely saying they wanted to, rather than requiring jumping through any hoops like judges’ or doctors’ notes.
According to the Associated Press, folks interested in a change would simply have to let the registry office know three months in advance. The law would also allow minors 14 and older to update their name and gender without parental consent.
90.3% of LGBTQ+ youth said they were proud to be part of queer community, and 83% had come out to their families.
Justice Minister Marco Buschmann told ZDF television that the government “simply want[s] to make life a bit easier for a small group for which it has great significance.”
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The current decades-old law states that Germans interested in an official name and gender change must get both a court decision and approval from two experts “sufficiently familiar with the particular problems of transsexualism.” In the past, trans Germans have been subject to even stricter laws, such as those requiring them to be sterilized, divorced, or get gender-affirming surgery before a legal gender change.
The law is part of a series of progressive moves by Germany’s landmark coalition of three liberal parties, headed by Chancellor Olaf Scholz. According to The Guardian, it’s “the first three-way alliance on a national level in modern German history.”
The potential new gender law comes only six months after Spain passed its own landmark gender recognition law, which allows those over the age of 16 to legally change their gender without medical supervision or a judge’s approval.
The law also banned so-called conversion therapy and made Spain the first country in Europe to introduce paid menstrual leave (up to five days). It also struck down a law requiring 16 and 17-year-olds to get parental permission for abortions and removed the current policy requiring a three-day reflection period before an abortion.
Scotland also passed a similar gender recognition bill last year, but this past January, the U.K. government blocked it.