As countries around the world consider self-identification laws for transgender individuals, it is important to recognize the immense benefits such laws would bring for the trans community. These laws, which would allow individuals to change their legal gender without the need for extensive medical evaluations and court appearances, would provide a much-needed sense of autonomy and dignity for trans individuals.
Currently, in Germany and many other European countries, the process of legally changing one’s gender is a burdensome and costly one. Trans individuals are often required to provide multiple expert reports from psychotherapists, and the process can cost several thousand euros. This not only puts financial strain on trans individuals, but also reinforces the societal notion that their identities are invalid and in need of medical justification.
However, with the proposed self-identification laws, the process would be simplified and made more accessible. Trans individuals would be able to change their legal gender simply by declaring it at a local registry office. Furthermore, children aged 14 and over would also be able to make this change with permission from their legal guardians.
It is crucial to note that self-identification laws do not put cisgender individuals at risk. Opponents of self-ID often argue that it could be used by predatory men to gain access to single-sex spaces, such as bathrooms and changing rooms. However, there is no evidence to support this claim. In fact, self-identification laws would likely increase safety for trans individuals, who often face harassment and discrimination in public spaces.
Opponents also argue that self-ID would erase biological facts and that children would be pushed into hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgery before they are ready. However, self-ID laws would separate the legal change from the medical transition, leaving those decisions up to the individual. Furthermore, it is not the role of society to dictate an individual’s gender identity or medical decisions.