Switzerland to allow trans people to legally change gender through self-ID

Members of the LGBT+ community in Switzerland celebrate Zurich Pride holding rainbow LGBT+ flags and walking through a wave of bubbles

Trans people in Switzerland will be able to legally change their gender by self-ID at a civil registry office from the start of the new year.

Switzerland joins a growing number of European countries that allow a person to legally change their gender and name through self-declaration. It follows Denmark, Norway, Malta, Luxembourg, Ireland, Iceland and Portugal, according to international trans advocacy group TGEU.

Under the new law, which will go into effect on Saturday (1 January), anyone over the age of 16 and not under legal guardianship will be able to change their gender marker and legal name by self-declaration at a civil registry office.

Younger people and those under adult protection will require guardian consent.

Self-ID will also potentially reduce thousands in administrative fees, taking the cost down to just 75 CHF, according to activists.

Current rules on changing gender markers vary by region in Switzerland, but many often require a certificate from a medical professional confirming a person’s trans identity, Reuters reported.

Some require a person to undergo gender-affirming surgery or hormone treatment to legally change gender. If a trans person wants to change their name, some regions require proof that the chosen name has been unofficially used for several years.

The move comes just months after Switzerland brought forward marriage equality in a history-marking referendum, with same-sex couples being able to get married from July.

In June, the Spanish government approved a draft bill to allow anyone aged 16 and older to change gender marker and name on government-issued documents without a medical diagnosis.

However, the UK has lagged behind in introducing self-ID laws.

A damning report by the Women and Equalities Committee, published earlier this month, laid out the failures of the Tory government in its handling of Gender Recognition Act (GRA) reform.

The committee recommended the Tories urgently remove the requirement that trans people receive a diagnosis of gender dysphoria before they can be legally recognised by 2023. It also advised that the government launch an action plan in the next 12 weeks for reforming the GRA.

The committee recommended the government scrap the spousal veto from gender recognition laws and remove the requirement that trans people live in their “acquired gender” for two years before they can seek legal recognition.