New German gender law could see children take their parents to court to change their gender

The Self-Determination Act will see Germany follow the lead of Spanish socialists in liberalizing the country’s gender laws

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Thomas Brooke

The German federal government has approved plans to liberalize the country’s gender laws, which will enable citizens to legally change their gender through self-certification without any need to obtain a professional assessment.

The Self-Determination Bill was approved by the federal cabinet on Wednesday and will allow those wishing to legally change their first name or their gender to do so by filing with the registry office without any further formalities.

Currently, individuals who wish to formally change their gender must obtain professional assessments from two experts and seek permission from the court. However, this will all be scrapped under the new plans, which still require parliamentary ratification.

Minors from the age of 14 will also be able to change their forename and legal gender provided they have approval from their guardian. However, should this be contested, minors will reserve the right to challenge their guardians’ decision in the family court.

Parents of those under the age of 14 will also be able to apply to the registry office to have their children’s gender legally changed.

“With the Self-Determination Act, we are realizing the right of every person to have their gender identity respected and treated with respect,” said Federal Family Minister Lisa Paus of the German Green party.

The opposition CDU, however, has expressed concerns over the legislation with the party’s family policy spokeswoman, Silvia Breher, warning that “the law is presumptuous, especially with regard to children and young people, and disproportionately interferes with constitutionally protected parental rights.”

She added that young people during puberty “could make hasty decisions about gender reassignment” and called for better safeguarding for young people.

Meanwhile, the hardline conservative Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is considering legal action against the law, with party leader Alice Weidel warning that it effectively makes the state the legal guardians of minors by allowing the courts to overturn decisions made by parents. Weidel argued that parental rights in relation to sensitive issues such as gender should be “untouchable.”

The move by the federal government follows other liberal European nations such as Spain, where the socialist government in February passed legislation to allow 16-year-olds to change their legal gender without any medical evaluation.

This was preceded in December last year by a similar bill proposed by the devolved Scottish government, which was challenged by the U.K. government in Westminster.

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