Germany’s disastrous embrace of gender self-ID

The new ‘Self-Determination Law’ is a threat to women and children.

Sabine Beppler-Spahl
Germany Correspondent

Topics Identity Politics World

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Germany’s coalition government is deeply unpopular. A poll this month found that 78 per cent of Germans are unhappy with it. But instead of trying to address public concerns, it has doubled down on its hated woke agenda.

On 12 April, the government passed the ‘Self-Determination Law’. Replacing the Transsexual Law from 1980, the new law will no longer require people to obtain psychological and medical assessments before being able to change their legal gender. People aged 14 and over will now be able to change their first name and gender simply by making a declaration to a registry office – although under-18s will need to obtain consent from their ‘legal guardians’ or, if they refuse, through a family court.

Germany’s family minister, the Green Party’s Lisa Paus, and justice minister, the Free Democratic Party’s Marco Buschmann, have presented the law as a victory for personal freedom. Paus claims that the government has created the legal framework for a ‘free, diverse and modern society’. But in truth, this new law has done nothing for freedom in Germany. It has antagonised and alienated many more people than it can claim to have helped. And it represents an attack on important and hard-won rights.

Women’s organisations have rightly complained that the new law undermines women’s right to single-sex spaces. Gay rights’ activists, like journalist Jan Feddersen, have claimed it threatens to erase those who ‘simply want to be gay’. Feddersen has also pointed to the irrationality of a law that assumes reality can be changed through a ‘speech act’ (ie, the idea that calling someone a woman, makes them a woman).

Critical jurists have drawn attention to the new law’s curtailment of parents’ rights. If parents oppose their children’s wish to change gender, the courts will step in and grant consent instead. This undermines any parent who has a critical view of transgender ideology. At the same time, it empowers pro-trans parents who are convinced their child is stuck in the ‘wrong body’. Whichever way it’s spun, this law does not serve the best interests of the child. Its main function is to promote and enforce transgender ideology.

The danger this legislation poses to vulnerable children who are confused about their gender has been highlighted by many medical experts. Youth psychiatrist Alexander Korte, a board member of the German Society for Sexual Medicine, Sexual Therapy and Sexology, has warned of the ‘hype’ around gender ideology leading politicians to ignore the harms. He says that the government’s ‘ennobling’ of the idea that we can be born in the wrong body will encourage more children to transition. Adolescent girls are particularly at risk, he says.

Those courageous enough to challenge gender ideology have faced harassment and cancellation. Trans lobbyists have called for Feddersen to be dismissed from his job as editor of the left-progressive newspaper, Taz. Activists were similarly outraged that Korte was invited by the opposition CDU as an expert at a hearing on the new law. One called him an ‘extremist’ because of his opposition to experimental puberty blockers.

The new law is also deeply repressive. Once it is implemented on 1 November this year, anyone who discloses a transgender person’s former gender could face a fine of up to €10,000.

While nearly two-thirds of the Bundestag supported the new law, it is a different story among the German public. Polling shows that nearly 60 per cent are opposed to self-ID.

Sahra Wagenknecht, the founder of the new left-populist BSW party, is one of the most outspoken critics of the law. Addressing the Bundestag on the day it was passed, she accused the government of favouring ideology over biological reality. The law poses a danger to women and children, she said.

Rarely has a speech in parliament triggered such an uproar. But Wagenknecht is right. The government is clearly trying to appear ‘progressive’. To look as if it’s on the ‘right side of history’. But in doing so, it is undermining parents and endangering women and children. This law is a recipe for disaster.

Sabine Beppler-Spahl is spiked’s Germany correspondent.

Picture by: Getty.

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Topics Identity Politics World


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