Germany to introduce landmark self-ID law as part of sweeping reform of LGBTQ+ rights

Germany is expected to introduce a bill allowing trans people to request a legal name and gender change without having to undergo surgery, hormone therapy or a psychological consultation.

The Self-Determination Act, which was first presented on 30 June, would allow trans adults – and minors aged 14 and older with permission from their parents or guardians – to change their gender and first name once a year, every year.

Trans and non-binary people could change their name and gender at a registry office, without any medical reports or a court order.

The bill states a fine can be given if a person’s gender or name change is disclosed without their permission.

Family minister Lisa Paus said: “The Self-Determination Act will improve the lives of transgender people and recognise gender diversity.

“In many areas, society is further ahead of legislation. As a government, we have decided to create a legal framework for an open, diverse and modern society.”

The upcoming bill is part of sweeping reforms of LGBTQ+ rights in Germany, with other proposals including recording the levels of related hate crimes and scrapping restrictions on blood donation for men who have sex with men.

The Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz of the centre-left Social Democratic Party, and his coalition with the Green Party and Free Democrats, revealed reforms in November 2021.

According to Der Tagesspiegel, other reforms for health insurance covering transition-related medical care in full are all being discussed.

Perhaps most ground-breaking of all is the proposal to compensate trans and intersex people physically harmed by previous legislation. For example, through forced sterilisation or unnecessary surgeries.

Before 2011, trans people in Germany were forced to undergo mandatory sterilisation in order to receive legal gender recognition.

Sweden became the first country in the world to compensate trans people for forced sterilisation, in 2018.

Julia Monro, of the German Society for Transidentity and Intersexuality, told Der Tagesspiegel: “There has never been such progressive projects for the rights of queer people in a coalition agreement.

“This is a milestone and the queer community is cheering.”