May 19, 2024

14-year-olds will be able to change their gender legally in Germany

German lawmakers have made it easier for transgender, intersex and non-binary people to change their official gender. A controversial Self-Determination Act passed easily last week. 

People aged 14 and older will now be able to change their first name and gender entry by making a declaration to the registry office. Minors will need the consent of their parents or guardian. Children under the age of 14 can also change their gender, but the parents would have to apply to the registry office.

Left-leaning member of the Bundestag Sahra Wagenknecht said: “If men can declare themselves to be women through a mere speech act, women’s rights and women’s safe spaces will soon be a thing of the past.”

She added: “Instead of carefully reforming the legal situation, which would have made sense, the traffic light [a nickname for Germany’s governing coalition] passes a misogynistic law that turns parents and children into guinea pigs for an ideology from which only the pharmaceutical industry benefits.”

Under the current Transsexual Law a gender change requires medical confirmation. Under the new law, trans and non-binary people will be able to go to a civil registry office and have their gender marker and their given names changed through a simple declaration. No expert opinions or medical certificates will be required. Several options will be available: male, female, diverse, or none. 

Germany is the latest country to make it easier to change gender. Argentina, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Uruguay also permit self-declaration of gender according to Human Rights Watch

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) – which is struggling to maintain its credibility in the light of recent media reports — has found that medical and other barriers to gender recognition for transgender people, including diagnostic requirements, “may harm physical and mental health.”

Germany’s new law will enter into force from November.