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Germany to vote on law that would make it easier for people to change gender

People hold a rainbow flag as they attend the 45th Berlin Pride Parade for Christopher Street Day (CSD) in Berlin, Germany.
People hold a rainbow flag as they attend the 45th Berlin Pride Parade for Christopher Street Day (CSD) in Berlin, Germany. Copyright Fabian Sommer/dpa via AP, File
Copyright Fabian Sommer/dpa via AP, File
By Euronews with AP
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German MPs will consider a government plan that would make it easier to legally change genders.

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German lawmakers are expected to vote on Friday on legislation that would make it easier for transgender, intersex and nonbinary people to legally change their name and gender.

The "self-determination bill" would allow adults to change their name and gender at registry offices.

The change would replace the existing "transsexual law" and mean that individuals would no longer need to present a medical certificate or obtain expert opinions to change gender, the German justice ministry said.

Germany’s top court has struck down other parts of that 1980 law that required transgender people to get divorced and sterilised and to undergo gender-transition surgery.

Under the new legislation, adults would need to notify registry offices three months before making a change to their name and gender. They would have to wait one year before a new change.

Minors 14 years and older would be able to change their name and gender with the approval of their parents or guardians.

In the case of children younger than 14, parents or guardians would have to make registry office applications on their behalf.

The new bill does not involve any revisions to Germany’s rules for gender-transition surgery. It also provides for operators of gyms and changing rooms for women to continue to decide who has access.

'We finally want to make it easier'

Nyke Slawik, one of two transgender women who were elected as MPs in 2021, said ahead of the vote in Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, that the new rules would have saved her over a year of dealing with courts, seeking expert assessments and spending nearly €2,000.

“We finally want to make it easier," Slawik, a lawmaker with the Greens, one of the parties in the coalition government, told ARD television.

"Many other countries have gone this way, and Germany is simply following suit in significantly simplifying this registration".

Among others, Spain’s parliament approved legislation in 2023 that allows people aged 16 and up to change their gender on identity papers without medical advice.

The Scottish parliament passed a bill in 2022 that would allow people aged 16 or older to change the gender designation on identity documents by self-declaration.

That was vetoed by the UK government, a decision that Scotland’s highest civil court upheld in December.

The German cabinet approved the proposal for the self-determination law last August.

At the time, Transgender Europe (TGEU), a nonprofit organisation, said that while the law was an "important step" there were some concerns.

Their recommendations include removing the three-month waiting period and one-year block and allowing minors 14 and older to use the same procedure as adults.

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