Germany: Bundestag to vote on gender self-determination law

Germany: Bundestag to vote on gender self-determination law
Germany: Bundestag to vote on gender self-determination law

Germany’s lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, is to vote on Friday on a law — the Self-Determination Act— that would simplify the procedure of changing one’s gender identity and first name at government registry offices.

Currently, expert evaluations and a court decision are necessary if someone wants to change their gender.

Friday will also see final discussion of a draft bill that would allow married couples to take a double name.

What is the Self-Determination Act?

Under the current transsexual law, people may officially change their first name and gender only after they have been assessed by two psychiatrists and a court has given permission.

The Self-Determination Act would allow these changes to be made in a simple procedure.

The draft defines a trans person as someone who does not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth, or not solely with that gender.

The new law would also apply to those who not identify exclusively as male or female, termed non-binary people.

The law would require people to inform registry offices three months in advance of the changes to be made.

In the case of those under the age of 14, only the legal representative of the person would be able to lodge the application. Those over 14 can lodge the application themselves with the approval of their legal representatives. If the approval is not given, a family court can approve the changes if the change in the official gender and the first name “do not go against the child’s well-being.”

The Bundestag will vote on the law by roll call.

The law has come under fire from conservatives and most notably from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which says it will allow people to change their genders arbitrarily.

Double names for married couples

The Bundestag will also hold a final debate on a draft bill that would give married couples and their children more freedom to choose and change their last names.

Currently, married couples in Germany must choose a joint family name for both spouses. If they do not do so, they retain the surnames they had before the marriage.

The new law would allow married couples to take a double name made up of their combined last names, usually, but not necessarily, joined with a hyphen.

This double name would also be the birth name of any children born to the couple, unless the parents have decided on a birth name.

In the case of a divorce, children would be able to change their name if one of the parents does. Up to now, children have had to keep the name they had at birth even if they live with a parent who has dropped the married name, unless a court decided this went against the child’s well-being.

Source: Dw

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