HomeTop StoriesThe German parliament votes on the law on the self-determination of women...

The German parliament votes on the law on the self-determination of women and men

Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, will vote later on Friday on a law that would make it easier for people to change their first names and gender identity in official documents.

The reforms, called the Self-Determination Act, would allow people to make the changes through a simple procedure at government registration offices.

Under current law, people who want to change their names or officially registered genders are required to obtain expert medical assessments and a court decision.

Advocates for transsexuals have complained that the requirements of Germany’s current transsexual law are demeaning, with those seeking a change of their name and gender forced to submit to a psychological assessment and intimate interrogations.

Sven Lehmann, the German government’s commissioner for LGBTQ issues, called for broad support for the changes before the election, saying the current law “violates human dignity.”

The proposal is controversial among many conservatives. Opponents of the centre-right CDU/CSU bloc and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) have expressed fears that the reform would allow people to arbitrarily change their officially registered gender in the future.

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Lehmann told dpa that the law is long overdue and that the proposals are relatively simple and widely popular, “despite a very heated debate and targeted disinformation campaigns.”

If the Bundestag approves the law on Friday, it will be deemed to have been adopted. The approval of the upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, is not required. The intention is for the law to come into effect on November 1.

Members of Parliament take part in the 164th session of the Bundestag.  Britta Pedersen/dpa

Members of Parliament take part in the 164th session of the Bundestag. Britta Pedersen/dpa

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