Self-determination law for trans people failed

style="float: right; margin-bottom: 10px; font-weight: 600;"Thu 20th May, 2021

A new right to self-determination for trans people will not be introduced for the time being. Corresponding bills from the FDP and the Greens were rejected by a large majority of votes in the Bundestag on Wednesday evening.Thus the transsexual law, which has been in force for 40 years, will continue to exist. In advance, the opposition had put pressure on the SPD to openly release the vote similar to marriage for all and to push through the bills against the coalition partner.There were only 118 yes votes for the Greens' bill, and 181 yes votes for the FDP's bill, with 653 votes cast in each case.

The bills were intended to significantly simplify the change of personal status. It was planned that trans people would in future be able to have their civil status changed by application to the registry office. This was also to apply to young people over the age of 14.Until now, courts have decided on a change of personal status, and trans people have to submit two psychological reports. The procedure is criticized by many affected persons as degrading and, moreover, as expensive - on average, the procedures cost 1500 to 2000 euros.

The opposition again promoted its drafts in the plenary session. "The transsexual law has violated human dignity for 40 years. It is overdue to replace it with a modern right of self-determination," said Sven Lehmann, queer policy spokesman for the Green Party.

Pressure from the opposition on the SPD

There is a majority in parliament for such a reform, he said, referring to the SPD - which would only have to stand up for its convictions: "Those who wave the rainbow flag on Mondays must follow up with action on Wednesdays in the Bundestag." With this, he alluded to the fact that the CDU had raised the rainbow flag in front of its party headquarters on Monday for the International Day against Homophobia, Bi-, Inter- and Transphobia.For the FDP, queer policy spokesman Jens Brandenburg said the Transsexual Act should be abolished: the respect of trans people required. The coalition had had four years for a new regulation and missed that. "The pure self-disclosure must be sufficient for the gender entry at the registry office. There is no better expert than the person himself."

Doris Achelwilm (Left Party) criticized that the transsexual law "stands for decades of suffering" inflicted on them by the state.SPD deputy Susann Rüthrich did indicate sympathy for LGBTI concerns: "We are clearly for self-determination and against unequal treatment." She blamed the coalition partner from the CDU/CSU, who would block any improvements.

The transsexual law was found to be unconstitutional

However, Rüthrich also made clear that the SPD "does not fully share" the proposals of the FDP and the Greens. "However, we would quickly agree on a new law." She then took the opportunity to campaign for majorities for a "real new start" and warn against black-green and black-yellow. Her party colleague Karl-Heinz Brunner also attacked the CDU/CSU - but also said he would not play the "transparent game" of the FDP and Greens and would not support their drafts.SPD chairwoman Saskia Esken had previously stated on Twitter that the SPD did not lack the courage to approve the law. But it would be irresponsible to jeopardize the government's work in the pandemic.

On behalf of the CDU/CSU, Bettina Wiesmann said the draft laws would "go far beyond the target." She appealed to the coalition to come together once again to find a new attempt at a joint law. Other CDU/CSU deputies were even more vehement in their rejection of the drafts. Beatrix von Storch (AfD) spoke of "crazy proposals," and that was still one of her kinder formulations.The Federal Constitutional Court has repeatedly ruled parts of the Transsexuals Act unconstitutional in the past. Actually, the policy is therefore challenged - but for now it remains with the old law.

Image by Gerd Altmann


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