LGBT protesters

Transgender rights in the Federal Republic of Germany are regulated by the Transsexuellengesetz ("Transsexual law")[1] since 1980, and indirectly affected by other laws like the Abstammungsrecht ("Law of Descent").[2] The law initially required transgender people to undergo sex-reassignment surgery in order to have key identity documents changed. This has since been declared unconstitutional.[3] The German government has pledged to replace the Transsexuellengesetz with the Selbstbestimmungsgesetz ("Self-Identity law"), which would remove the financial and bureaucratic hurdles necessary for legal gender and name changes.[4] Discrimination protections on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation vary across Germany, but discrimination in employment and the provision of goods and services is in principle banned countrywide.

The Transsexuellengesetz

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In 1980, West Germany passed a law regulating the change of first names and legal gender, the "Gesetz über die Änderung der Vornamen und die Feststellung der Geschlechtszugehörigkeit in besonderen Fällen, (de:Transsexuellengesetz – TSG) or, "Law concerning the change of first name and determination of gender identity in special cases (Transsexual law – TSG)". Since 1990, following the reunification of East and West Germany, it applies to all of Germany.

To change either name or gender, two independent medical court experts have to be commissioned by the judge. They are asked to evaluate, whether

Name changes

One can either obtain a change of name alone, and proceed later with a change of legal gender, if possible or desired, or obtain both in a single legal procedure.[citation needed]

The name change becomes legally void if a child of the trans person is born more than 300 days after the name change.[7]

Several court decisions have further specified several matters. For example, a person with only a name change has the right to be called "Herr" or "Frau" (Mr. or Ms.) according to their first name, not their legal gender; similarly, documents have to be issued reflecting their actual gender identity, not legal gender. Job references, certifications and similar from the time before the change of name may be reissued with the new name, so effectively there is no way for a new employer to learn about the change of name and/or legal gender. Also, people with only a name change do not have to divulge their legal gender to employers.[citation needed]

A name change is registered as previous last names in the resident registration (German "Melderegister").[8] It is also registered in the Federal Central Tax Office as previous last names with the Tax Identification Number.[9] Based on the previous last names there can be seen the previous gender.

Gender marker changes

To change legal gender before 1980, it used to be required that the person:

The administrative procedure for changing the legal gender under the TSG is lengthy and costly, requiring several assessments. According to a government study, the average cost for the assessments is 1,660 euros, with an additional 206 euros spent on court fees, on average.[11] According to the LGBT rights association LSVD, some medical professionals that conduct the assessments also ask invasive questions about intimate details such as sexual fantasies, their underwear, masturbatory behaviour and other sexual practices.[12] This contrasts with a comparatively easier process for intersex people under § 45b PStG.

Constitutional challenges

The TSG has been found unconstitutional on a variety of grounds by the Federal Constitutional Court since its inception. In 1982, the requirement that a candidate be 25 years of age was found in violation of the equality clause of the German Constitution (Art. 3).[13] In 2006, the court ordered lawmakers to amend the law so that the TSG would apply for non-Germans who have legal residency status in Germany, as long as their country of citizenship does not have equivalent laws.[14] In 2008, the court declared that the requirement that a candidate be unmarried was unconstitutional.[15] In January 2011, the court declared the criteria for gender change requiring gender-affirming surgery and sterilization or infertility unconstitutional.[3][16][17]

Replacement of TSG with a self-ID law

Germany's 2021-2025 ruling coalition committed to removing the TSG (and para. 45b Personenstandsgesetz, PStG) and replacing it with self-identification. For this purpose, it drafted a Selbstbestimmungsgesetz (Self Identification Law, SBGG), publishing a ministry-level draft (a so-called Referentenentwurf) in May 2023. The draft sets out the following:

The next step is a cabinet-level draft planned for summer 2023.[18]

Queer associations criticised the draft for the 3-month waiting period, which did not previously exist in TSG and para. 45b PStG.[19] Furthermore, trans people with legal guardians (due to impairments or disabilities) would not get self-ID under the draft. Legal guardians should be there to protect vulnerable people from things like giving away their possessions, but not to prevent them from coming out as trans, the association Queer Handicap argued.[20]

Gender-neutral names

In the past, German law required parents to give their child a gender-specific name.[21][22] This is no longer true, since the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany held in 2008 that there is no obligation that a name has to be sex-specific, even if it is the only one.[23]

Third gender

In November 2017, the Bundesverfassungsgericht ("Federal Constitutional Court") ruled that civil status law must allow a third gender option.[24] This means that birth certificates no longer have blank gender entries for intersex people.[25] The process for intersex people to obtain different gender markers has been regulated in § 45b of the Personenstandsgesetz ("Law of Civil Status").[26]

Parental identification on children's birth certificates

While the legal gender for trans people can be changed through the TSG, they will still be forcibly misgendered as biological parents on their children's birth certificates with a reference to their old gender (e.g. a trans woman as "father"), with no option of a reissued certificate.[27] This has been overruled in other EU countries like France,[28] but not so far in Germany, potentially involuntarily outing transgender parents to their children's schools and to other governments when they travel, which according to TGEU is a threat to transgender people's freedom of travel.[29]

Discrimination protections

The Equal Treatment Act came into force on 18 August 2006. It bans discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics in employment and the provision of goods and services.[30]

Hate speeches on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity are not banned nationwide in Germany. Some states have laws banning all forms of discrimination in their constitutions (Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Saarland and Thuringia). In those states, hate speech based on both sexual orientation and gender identity is prohibited.[31][32]


In September 2021, Nyke Slawik and Tessa Ganserer, members of the Green Party, were elected to the Bundestag. They are openly transgender women. Later that year, the government pledged to loosen restrictions on legal name changes and to compensate transgender people who were sterilized against their will.[33]
de:Michaela Lindner was one of the first out transgender politicians in Germany.

See also


  1. ^ "Personenstandsrecht - Transsexuellenrecht".
  2. ^ "Gebärende Männer sind Väter! Zeugende Frauen sind Mütter! BVT*-Stellungnahme zum Teilentwurf eines Gesetzes zur Reform des Abstammungsrechts · Bundesverband Trans*". 12 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b "ERT Notes Steps Taken Around the World Recognising the Gender Identity of Gender Variant Persons". Equal Rights Trust. 2011-12-14. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Eckpunkte für das Selbstbestimmungsgesetz vorgestellt".
  5. ^ a b The German word Geschlecht (the teminology used in the law) can be translated as either "sex" or "gender".
  6. ^ a b c "Bundesverfassungsgericht - Presse - Voraussetzungen für die rechtliche Anerkennung von Transsexuellen nach § 8 Abs. 1 Nr. 3 und 4 Transsexuellengesetz verfassungswidrig". Retrieved 2019-02-06.
  7. ^ "BGBl. I S. 1654" (PDF) (in German). Bundesansieger Verlag. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  8. ^ "§ 3 BMG - Einzelnorm". Retrieved 2022-05-28.
  9. ^ "BZSt - tax identification number". Retrieved 2022-05-28.
  10. ^ a b "Prerequisites for the statutory recognition of transsexuals according to § 8.1 nos. 3 and 4 of the Transsexuals Act are unconstitutional" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-08-15. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  11. ^ "Gutachten: Regelungs- und Reformbedarf für transgeschlechtliche..." BMFSFJ (in German). 19 July 2017. p. 195. Retrieved 2022-11-14.
  12. ^ "Das Selbstbestimmungsgesetz: Antworten zur Abschaffung des Transsexuellengesetz (TSG)". (in German). Retrieved 2022-11-14.
  13. ^ BVerfG, 16.03.1982 - 1 BvR 938/81, 1982-03-16, retrieved 2023-01-09
  14. ^ Bundesverfassungsgericht, 1 Senat (2006-07-18). "Bundesverfassungsgericht - Entscheidungen - Ausschluss transsexueller Ausländer von der nach dem TSG eröffneten Möglichkeit, ihren Vornamen zu ändern oder die geänderte Geschlechtszugehörigkeit feststellen zu lassen, ist mit GG Art 3 Abs 1 iVm dem Grundrecht auf Schutz der Persönlichkeit nicht vereinbar, sofern deren Heimatrecht vergleichbare Regelungen nicht kennt". (in German). Retrieved 2023-01-09.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ "Bundesverfassungsgericht - Presse - § 8 Abs. 1 Nr. 2 Transsexuellengesetz verfassungswidrig". Retrieved 2023-01-09.
  16. ^ "– German Constitutional Court declares compulsory surgeries unconstitutional". 28 January 2011. Archived from the original on 17 July 2018. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  17. ^ "– German Constitutional Court declares compulsory surgeries unconstitutional". 28 January 2011. Archived from the original on 17 July 2018. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  18. ^ a b "Gesetz über die Selbstbestimmung in Bezug auf den..." BMFSFJ (in German). 2023-05-09. Retrieved 2023-05-31.
  19. ^ ""Man fühlt sich erschlagen von dem ganzen Misstrauen": Entwurf zum Selbstbestimmungsgesetz löst Kontroverse aus". Der Tagesspiegel Online (in German). ISSN 1865-2263. Retrieved 2023-05-31.
  20. ^ Bellm, Nicolas (2023-05-27). "Statement zum Selbstbestimmungsgesetz". queerhandicap (in German). Retrieved 2023-05-31.
  21. ^ "Oh no, you can't name your baby THAT!". Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  22. ^ Flippo, Hyde "The Germany Way" Published by McGraw-Hill (1996), Pages 96-97
  23. ^ BVerfG, 1 BvR 576/07 vom 5.12.2008, paragraph 16
  24. ^ Civil Status Law Must Allow a Third Gender Option
  25. ^ Germany officially recognising 'third sex' other than male and female The Independent, 8 November 2017
  26. ^ "§ 45b PStG - Erklärung zur Geschlechtsangabe und... -".
  27. ^ "ZEIT ONLINE | Lesen Sie mit Werbung oder im PUR-Abo. Sie haben die Wahl".
  28. ^ "Trans Frau kann sich in Geburtsurkunde als zweite Mutter eintragen lassen".
  29. ^ "New report on trans parenthood and freedom of movement in the EU". 22 March 2021.
  30. ^ "Antidiskriminierungsstelle - Publikationen - AGG in englischer Sprache". Archived from the original on 2016-01-11. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  31. ^ "Rainbow Europe: Germany". Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  32. ^ (in German) Diskriminierungsverbot in die Bremische Landesverfassung
  33. ^ Marzano-Lesnevich, Alex (2022-03-04). "Opinion | Who Should Be Allowed to Transition?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-03-04.
  34. ^ Gershon, Livia (18 November 2018). "Gender Identity in Weimar Germany". JSTOR Daily. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  35. ^ Frost, Natasha (2 November 2017). "The Early 20th-Century ID Cards That Kept Trans People Safe From Harassment". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 19 July 2019.