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Germany proposes rules to ease legal changes of gender


BERLIN (AP) — The German government on Tuesday presented a proposal for a law that will make it easier for people to legally change their name and gender, ending decades-old rules that require them to get expert assessments and a court’s authorization.

Under the planned “self-determination law,” adults would be able to change their first name and legal gender at registry offices without further formalities.

“We have taken another big step forward with the self-determination act and with it also in the protection against discrimination and the rights of transgender, intersex and nonbinary people,” Germany’s minister for families, Lisa Paus, said.

“This way we can give back some of the dignity to those who have been deprived of it for decades,” she added.

The existing “transsexual law,” which took effect in 1981, currently requires individuals to obtain assessments from two experts — such as physicians — whose training and experience make them “sufficiently familiar with the particular problems of transsexualism” and then a court decision to change the gender on official documents.

Over the years, Germany’s top court has struck down other provisions that required transgender people to get divorced and sterilized, and to undergo gender-transition surgery.