Germany simplifies gender change procedure

Germany's government has agreed to simplify the administrative procedure for people wanting to change gender, a move long demanded by the LGBTQ community, a spokesman for the ruling party said Saturday.

Germany simplifies gender change procedure
Photo: Pixabay.

 “As a parliamentary group of the (ruling) SPD, we expressly welcome the fact that the law on self-determination is finally moving forward,” Jan Plobner, spokesman for the Social Democrat party on issues concerning transgender people in the Bundestag, told AFP.

Under the agreement, which was revealed by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily, transgender, intersex and non-binary people will in future have only to self-declare if they wish to change their first name or gender notation in the civil registry.

The procedure had been governed by a law dating from the 1980s that considered trans issues mental illness.

Those wanting to change their gender have been obliged to submit two psychological evaluations with a court ultimately taking the decision. That procedure is long, costly and deemed degrading by those concerned.

“The undignified procedure will soon be a thing of the past,” Plobner said.

The agreement between the justice and family ministries will allow the bill to be finalised, “so that the legislation can hopefully be applied soon,” said Sven Lehmann, the government’s representative for the rights of the LGBTQ community.

It notably resolves the sensitive issue of gender changes for minors, according to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

For those under 14, only parents or guardians will be able to initiate proceedings.

For those over 14 whose parents would oppose such a move, it is a court that will have to decide.

A time for reflection is also planned, with the civil change only coming into effect after a cooling off period of three months.

A new request for a gender change will only be possible after a year.

The government of Social Democrat Chancellor Olaf Scholz, allied with the Greens and Liberals, has vowed to fight discrimination against the LGBTQ community.

In November 2022, it adopted a wide-ranging plan of action that included a specific codification of the community’s rights in the constitution.

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Ukraine asks Germany for air-to-surface missiles: defence ministry

Ukraine has asked Berlin to provide it with Taurus air-to-surface missiles that have a range of in excess of 500 kilometres, Germany's defence ministry told AFP on Saturday.

Ukraine asks Germany for air-to-surface missiles: defence ministry

“We have a received a request from the Ukrainian side in recent days,” a ministry spokesman said, without providing further details.

The request comes as Ukraine prepares to launch a counteroffensive in an effort to wrestle back territory seized by Russia since Moscow invaded its neighbour in February 2022, sparking the biggest conflict on European soil since World War II.

The missiles, produced by a Germany-Swedish joint venture Taurus Systems, would allow Ukraine to strike well inside Russia with their range of more than 500 kilometres (310 miles).

READ ALSO: Germany say US must decide on jets for Ukraine

The United States and other Western countries providing arms to Ukraine have up to now been cautious on giving Kyiv weapons that could reach inside nuclear-armed Russia, potentially widening the conflict.

Previously seen as reticent on supplying weapons, Germany has become the second-biggest contributor of military assistance to Ukraine after the United States.

READ ALSO: Germany unveils 2.7 bn euro weapons package for Ukraine

It is currently preparing its biggest-yet military aid package, including anti-missile systems, 30 additional Leopard 1 tanks, more than 100 armoured combat vehicles and more than 200 surveillance drones.

But it has so far been cautious on the issue of fighter jets and air-to-surface missiles.