The Bundestag debate on the new self-determination law on gender identity reminded me of a conversation with an old friend who works as a teacher in the Netherlands.

He sighed at the effort he had to put into properly addressing and treating eleven year old boys who had decided to change their gender. And she suspected that those students enjoyed exposing cheats to their teacher.

No more expert questions about your favorite underwear

It's no fun if you seriously believe that your identity and personal development contradict the gender recorded on your birth certificate. Those affected must have every right to lead a self-determined life and to be recognized for who they are.

Without a doubt, the new law will bring improvements in this regard. It ends testing procedures that are perceived as degrading when someone wants to change their name and official gender record.

Boring questions from experts, such as the preferred underwear, as FDP Bundestag member Katrin Helling-Plahr complains, will soon and rightly be a thing of the past.

An SPD Registrar is Happy: Parents Might Be Worried

However, the future regulations cannot provoke unanimous acclaim, although SPD deputy Jan Plobner predicted: “As a registrar, it will be a great pleasure for me to implement this law.” In some parental homes, expectations for the future are more anxious.

Because the law establishes freedom of gender choice early, very early, long before the political right to vote at 16, for example, as applied for the first time to the European elections in June.

In the future, even five-year-olds will have the chance to successfully resolve the discomfort that SPD MP Anke Hennig recounted in a conversation with a six-year-old: “My name is Lara, but I'm actually a child. .”

Being in the “wrong skin”, does that mean having the “wrong gender”?

Right now? At six years old you can think about all kinds of things, even later, when puberty hits and you feel in every way that you are in the wrong skin or in the wrong sex. A desire for rebellion that is completely normal at this age may now have an outlet that leads to additional trials and tribulations.

This was especially pointed out by the CDU and CSU speakers who took the floor in the Bundestag debate: clear about this, but with a moderate tone.

“Rhetorical humility” is appropriate for this controversial issue, said CDU MP Mareike Lotte Wulf; The vice president of Parliament, Petra Pau, also expressly asked for objectivity at the beginning of the debate.

AfD with Napoleon's spinning mills – Wagenknecht warns of “madness”

AfD deputy Martin Reichardt and the leader of the alliance that bears his name, Sahra Wagenknecht, did not care much about this.

Reichardt's clown appearance was largely devoted to the question of whether Chancellor Olaf Scholz's imaginary wish to be called “Napoleon” would also have to be followed in the future. Wagenknecht spoke of a “dangerous madness” that turned gender “from a biological fact to a matter of state of mind.”

It is difficult to understand what was happening at that time for Green MP Nyke Slawik, who on this occasion was sitting in the front row of her group in the Bundestag and was also the first speaker in the debate.

According to his own statement, he went through expensive and “unnecessarily long expert and judicial procedures” to get rid of what he was constantly asked about his appearance when he presented his personal documents: “Is that your brother's ID?”

Eliminate injustice – according to the CSU for a “loud but very small group”

Of course, there has now been an improvement for those affected like Slawik. According to CSU MP Susanne Hierl, they belong to a “noisy but very small group”.

Registrar Plobner of the SPD downplayed this situation with a powerful moral statement: “We have a duty to eliminate injustice, even if it only affects one person in this country.”

It sounds good and honorable, but it ignores serious questions about society as a whole and the potential for abuse. Some of them are addressed in the traffic light of their law; for example, that it is up to sauna operators to continue to regulate access to their (possibly gender-segregated) facilities based on internal rules, not names.

Wagenknecht: In case of war, men remain men

Despite the stridency of their appearance, which provoked heated boos, Wagenknecht pointed out, not without reason, that the law puts an end to evasion attempts by changing names in the event of an imminent call to military service: in the event of war, men would remain men.

There are also fears that “ex” men could access women's shelters. And criminals who change their names make it harder to find them.

The new law will make many people happy, the queer commissioner of the federal government, Sven Lehmann, predicted in the Bundestag. The current legal situation has caused a lot of suffering. It can be recognized that the new system should remedy this. But many new confusions and conflicts can also be feared.