Status: 28.11.2023, 21:07 PM
By: Leonie Hudelmaier
At Christopher Street Day in Berlin, people also demonstrated for the Self-Determination Act © Fabian Sommer / dpa
The traffic light wants to strengthen the rights of transgender people. However, the experts do not come to a common denominator when it comes to the Self-Determination Act.
Berlin – The diversity of the voices in the debate is already evident at the doors of the Bundestag. Women stand there and protest. "Yes to women's rights! No to the Self-Determination Act," reads one banner. Women who are against people being able to change their gender and first names more quickly in the future. This Tuesday morning, the public hearing in the Bundestag on the self-determination law of the SPD, the Greens and the FDP is scheduled.
This law of self-determination has been heating up tempers for months. In the coalition agreement, the traffic light coalition had agreed to replace the outdated transsexual law of 1980. The rights of transgender people are now to be strengthened. One of the core elements: The two psychiatric reports and the one court order will no longer be necessary in the future to change the gender entry and first name. A simple declaration at the registry office should suffice. Less discriminatory, less bureaucratic.
Experts disagree on the Self-Determination Act
As simple as the project sounds, it is viewed in different ways. The visitor ranks at the public hearing in the Bundestag are well filled. Someone is wearing a jacket in rainbow colors. A statement for diversity and openness. Down in the hearing room, members of the AfD repeatedly make fun of certain terms or representations of the invited experts. Worlds collide.
The experts came to the public hearing to analyse the legal, scientific and social dimensions of the Self-Determination Act.
Above all, it is child protection on which the opinions of the invited experts differ widely. The draft provides that children over the age of 14 will be able to change their gender entry themselves if their guardians have consented. In the event of a conflict, the family court decides. For children under the age of 14, parents must submit these declarations.
Above all, plans for children and young people are scrutinised
Affected children are thus "put in a situation that hopelessly overwhelms them," criticizes Professor Bernd Ahrbeck of the International Psychoanalytic University of Berlin. "14-year-olds find themselves in an irritating, often vulnerable life situation," says Ahrbeck. While protective functions would apply in other areas, this would not be the case with the planned law.
Professor Sibylle Winter of the Charité University Medical Center in Berlin sees it differently. "It is undisputed that many adolescents have a critical examination of themselves, their bodies and their gender during puberty," says Winter. However, the Self-Determination Act does not assume "that an inflationary use" of the facilitated gender entry will begin. According to child and adolescent psychiatrist Winter, this takes place "only after many years of discussion or in the case of very high levels of suffering".
Legal Scholar: Law Clarifies Gender Entry, Not Medical Transition
Directly linked to the planned Self-Determination Act is also the discussion about the medical gender reassignment, the so-called transition, of transgender people. "Once this path has been taken, you become a lifelong patient," warns Professor Aglaja Stirn, a specialist in psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy. And further: The risk potential of the traffic light project is greater than the benefit.
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Professor Bettina Heiderhoff, a legal scholar from the University of Münster, urges us to stick to the core of the law. She clarifies: "First of all, we should remember that it's all about the gender entry, it's nothing really dangerous, nothing that could be reversed." For transgender people, the law is rather an instrument "that should lead away from state paternalism and towards private autonomy."
Tessa Ganserer: Germany is not planning "something completely new"
The hearing shows that it is a major legal, family policy and medical task to initiate the Self-Determination Act. And it's about time. As early as 2015, the Council of Europe adopted a resolution against discrimination against transgender people. "In the social discourse about the Self-Determination Act, one could get the impression that it is only through the law that people will suddenly become trans," says Tessa Ganserer (Greens), the first transgender member of the Bundestag. But: "The opposite is the case. There are transgender people in all parts of society and professions: in the German Bundestag, in the Bundeswehr, in the police," says Ganserer. And the traffic light coalition "is not planning something completely new", rather "numerous European countries have already implemented the demand of the Council of Europe".