Germany’s Transgender Law seen as ‘archaic, degrading’

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12/28/2020

“Degrading, expensive and illogical” — that is how one trans* person described her experience of legally changing her gender in Germany. Felicia Rolletschke is one of many activists who is fighting for a reform to the so-called Transsexual Law, which determines the legal process for trans* people to change their gender and name in Germany. By the beginning of 2021, the law will have been in place for 40 years — a time frame in which many countries around the world have seen great upheaval in their legislation around trans* rights. There are currently two bills before the German parliament that aim to ease this process with a new “self-determination law” (Selbstbestimmungsgesetz). Activists hope such a law would reform the current costly, lengthy process — but the reform has faced some stiff opposition. Payment holds trans* people back. “It really is such a hassle and inconvenience to change your legal name and gender,” Felicia Rolletschke explained. She should know — she went through the process herself, between 2015 and 2018. Rolletschke is a 26-year-old workshop leader and public speaker based in Berlin. After growing up in a “very Catholic” Bavarian village of 4,000 people, she moved to the German capital at the age of 17 to attend university. It was there that she came out as a trans* woman for the first time, at 21. After coming to terms with her identity and coming out to friends and family, Rolletschke began the process of legally changing her name and gender in the German courts.

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