Germany approves self-ID legislation to make legal gender change easier

After a year of legal battles, the new legislation would remove barriers from the 1980s law which required trans people to endure two psychological reports and a court ruling to change their name.

German flag waving in Germany representing passing of new self-ID bill
Image: Ingo Joseph, Pexels

After a year of legal battles, on Wednesday, August 23, Germany approved the proposal for a new self-ID law that allows transgender, non-binary and intersex citizens to change their name and gender at a registry office without additional requirements and paperwork.

This legislation, which has been in development since June 2022, overrules the previous 1980s law, which required trans and non-binary people to endure two psychological assessments and a court ruling to change their name.

Under the current law, trans and non-binary people often wait for years and pay thousands of euros to apply for these changes. The new legislation removes these barriers and makes it easier for people to change their name and gender by visiting a government registry office and submitting a self-disclosure form.

The proposed law will still require applicants to submit their change request three months in advance. Children under 14 can change their name and gender if their parents submit the relevant documentation, while minors aged 14-17 can submit the form themselves with parental consent.


The German government’s Minister for the Family, Lisa Paus, called the decision “a great moment for transgender and intersex people in Germany.”

Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said: “Everyone has a right to the state respecting their gender identity. The current law harasses transgender people. We want to end this undignified situation.”


Conservative voices continue to resist the law, claiming a need to protect single sex spaces.

Right-wing opponents also claim that the new law would allow migrants awaiting deportation to evade the law. Human rights activists have widely condemned this conspiracy theory, but the modified version of the legislation prohibits anyone awaiting deportation from legally changing their gender.

These new amendments mean that registry offices will now be required to notify Germany’s national crime unit whenever someone changes their name and gender. Trans activists in Germany are concerned about these changes, calling them dangerous and discriminatory.

Next, the legislation needs to be approved by Parliament, and the bill will likely face additional resistance from conservative parties during the next steps.

If the new law passes, Germany will join Ireland, Belgium, Spain, Luxembourg and Denmark which have already passed self-ID laws.

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