The German government Thursday presented plans to make it easier for transgender people to legally change their first name and gender, ending the current rules which require an expert assessment and court authorization.
Under Germany’s current “transsexual law,” which was put in place under the Transgender Act of 1980, individuals are required to go through a lengthy process of obtaining assessments from two experts and a court decision in their favor. The proposed “self-determination” law, titled the Self-Determination Act, would allow adults to change their first name and legal gender at their local registry office without any further formalities. With the permission of their parents or legal guardians, children aged 14 and over would also be allowed to utilize the new procedure.
Commenting on the proposed law, Federal Minister of Justice Dr. Marco Buschmann said the time for a self-determination law is long overdue for Germany. Federal Family Minister Lisa Paus, who announced the move, explained:
The transsexual law dates from 1980 and is degrading for those affected. We will finally abolish it and replace it with a modern self-determination law. Today is therefore a good day for freedom and for diversity in our country. The Self-Determination Act will improve life for transgender people and recognize gender diversity.
Legal gender change through self-declaration is currently in place in a number of European countries, including Denmark and Switzerland.