DThe planned self-determination law is intended to replace the currently applicable transsexual law. This Friday, the Bundestag will vote on the traffic light government's proposal. Answers to the most important questions.

Which regulations currently apply?

The current transsexual law is more than 40 years old. After that, people who want to change their gender in their passport have to obtain two psychiatric reports and answer very intimate questions. These reports cost more than a thousand euros and the process takes months. A court must then decide. The Federal Constitutional Court had repeatedly classified parts of this law as unconstitutional.

What does the draft for a self-determination law contain?

In the future, every adult person should be able to freely choose their gender identity in their passport and decide for themselves between the entries “male”, “female”, “diverse” or “unspecified”. It doesn't matter whether this decision is based on a perceived belonging to the opposite sex (transsexuality), on biologically ambiguous gender characteristics (intersexuality) or on a lack of feeling of belonging to both genders (non-binary sexuality).

A “declaration with self-insurance” should be sufficient for an unbureaucratic change of gender entry and first name. The change in gender entry and first name should be reported to the registry office three months before the declaration. During this time, the data subject has the opportunity to revoke the change. The decision can then only be changed again after one year at the earliest. The reform is not about gender reassignment surgery.

What rules should apply to minors in the future?

According to the draft, young people who are not yet of legal age but have reached the age of 14 can make the declaration themselves, but need the consent of their legal guardians. In the event of a conflict, consent should be replaced by the family court. The standard here – as in family law in general – should be the best interests of the child.

For young people under the age of 14, only parents or other legal representatives can submit declarations to change gender and first names. Parents should also be able to enter “parent” instead of “father” or “mother” on their children’s birth certificates.

Are there exceptions?

Men cannot change their gender if this is obviously related to the threat of being called up for a defense case. The Self-Determination Act is not intended to change anything about private household rights and freedom of contract. This allows operators of protected spaces such as women's shelters, fitness studios or saunas to decide who has access in case of doubt. The autonomy of sport should not be affected by the law. There are also exceptions for asylum seekers. You can only apply for an adjustment of your gender entry if your residence permit does not expire within the following two months.

What happens if name changes are deliberately not accepted by the environment?

In order to protect people from being forced out, it should continue to be forbidden to research and reveal previous gender entries or first names. If a person is intentionally harmed as a result, a fine can be imposed. However, no one should be able to avoid prosecution by changing their gender and first name. This makes it possible for security authorities to track people's identities.

How does the legal process continue?

The law still goes to the Federal Council, but the approval of the state chamber is not necessary for the law. It can come into force once it is published in the Federal Law Gazette and a period of two weeks has passed.

What do experts say?

Experts disagree about the effects of the planned self-determination law. At a hearing of experts in the Bundestag, some experts advocated that there should be a mandatory consultation for young people before they change their gender. On the other hand, other experts felt that the rules in the planned law did not go far enough.