German parliament debates gender identity law on 19 May: lobbyists on the attack everywhere

Supported by Die Grünen (Greens), FDP and Die Linke (Socialist Party), the bill introducing gender self-certification has arrived in the Bundestag. For the first time, public funding is denied to the Lesbian Spring Festival, a historic meeting since 1974
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In Germany from 1980 to 2011 lhe Transgender Act or 'TSG' has been amended several times. Currently, the law is in line with similar ones in other European countrieswhere the 'sex change' can only take place after two consultations with different doctors who are close to the issue of 'feeling the opposite sex' or transsexuality, not necessarily psychologists. Subsequently the final step in court which generally lasts between 8 weeks and 6 months and costs around €3,300. The medical treatment, however, is covered by the Krankenkasse (mandatory national private health service) or by the patient's health insurance. A person who wants to change his or her sex on the identity document must show that they have a strong motivation to 'live' like people of the opposite sex and have done so for at least three years.

Before the latest change in 2011, the person had to undergo a 'sex change' operation. to obtain the legal change, but after this latest reform it is no longer compulsory to 'look like' the opposite sex. Today, however, in connection with the policies of 'gender self-identification' promoted in particular by the parties Die Grünen (the Greens), FDP and Die Linke (German Socialist Party), the uterus and breasts can be removed on girls aged 13 and over with parental approval, as there is no age limit for this type of surgery if it is endorsed by the parents. In Berlin, schools are obliged to respect children's 'gender self-identification' without the need for parental approval. according to the regulations of the district Ministry of Education.

Il 19 maggio il Parlamento tedesco discute la legge sull'identità di genere: la lobby all'attacco ovunque

The administration of puberty blockers has become popular among doctors' recommendations to minors and adolescents, although potentially discouraged by responsible medical professionals since there is no evidence that it can be changed, and a lack of studies showing that it is a beneficial treatment. It is now known that between 80% and more than 90% of children who claim to feel the "other sex" give up at the end of puberty. But taking puberty blockers or hormones creates irreversible damage, in women increases heart problems by 40 to 60%, their voice changes forever and all their tissues are affected, with serious risk of infertility.

Germany currently has a law against 'conversion therapies originally intended to protect the freedom of homosexuals and bisexuals. But today is used to promote the advancement of the law of 'gender self-identification'. (self-id) together with the European law against 'Hate Speech', making impossible for psychologists, educators and even parents to counteract children's 'feeling' of belonging to the opposite sex.o. Even just trying to help the child will be considered a crime, and so any psychological treatment of 'gender dysphoria' would be considered 'oppression' of perceived gender expression, in violation of the law that has not yet been passed.

11 June 2020 Die Grüne, the party that most promotes the law on 'gender self-identification', has brought the first reading of the bill in the Bundestag (the German Parliament) together with the FPDthe ultra-neoliberal party. Also the Die Linke, socialist left in Germany, supports this law, although over the months it has become clear how divided the party is on these policies. Ihe second largest German party, the SPD, which governs in coalition with the CDU, is extremely divided. on the proposal, while Angela Merkel's party is the only one to oppose this law together with the far-right AfD.

Feminists breathed a sigh of relief when, last April, it was reported that discussion of this law would be put on standby until after the elections next September 2021. Unfortunately, however, they knew they would not have the approval of the coalition government, Die Grüne intends to present the discussion of the 'Self-ID' law again in the Bundestag on 19 May 2021 and since this would be the third presentation of the bill, it becomes automatic voting, with the possibility of approval.

By interviewing different politicians and communicating through various media, we feminists have obtained favourable but also disturbing answers. On the one hand the same politicians have told us that the law is being pushed by a very well-organised lobby, intelligent and tenacious, which makes it very difficult to handle an opposition immediately branded as phobic, discredited as extreme right-wing and anti-human rights. However, the law is not expected to be passed in the next few days for several reasons: one relevant reason is that the SPD, which governs in coalition with the CDU, is expected to vote against it. Another important element is the pressure of feminists and gender-critics in education and society in general.along with a number of media that have explored the risks for women and girls, such as the historic feminist magazine EMMA Magazin directed by Alice Schwarzer or the newspaper F.A.Z. which has conducted very strong investigations into the dangers that the approval of such a law would imply for society.

We of Radfem Berlin we are asking feminists living in Germany to write to politicians in the Bundestag (email address here) to call on them to prevent the passing of a law that legally erases women, exposes lesbians to having to accept the "women with penises'. to avoid being branded as 'transphobic', which would see men violate the safe spaces that women have managed to conquer through decades of struggle, which would prevent them from choosing what they want for themselves and their children. It would prevent them from choosing what they want for themselves and their children. If girls and boys were to be further influenced by an ideology that has been spreading unabated for years on the internet, We as parents could not do anything, because the consequences would be extreme: fines, imprisonment or even loss of custody of the children.

The Gender Identity Act has already proved in other countries, such as Argentina and Canada, to be a conversion therapy for gay boys and lesbian girls who now have to identify themselves as 'non-binary' or 'trans men'. In these countries women in prison are raped and assaulted by men who have committed the worst crimes against women and that just for claiming to 'feel' the opposite sex, can have access to women's prisons where they perpetrate their crimes. Nothing can be done because of these misogynistic laws that authorise the torture of women.

Currently in Germany, men who have made a legal 'sex change' can enter women's prisons as long as they have not committed crimes such as rape, murder or sexual assault. However, once the 'gender self-identification' law proposed by Die Grüne is passed, any man with a 'female' ID will also be treated as a woman by prison law. 

Il 19 maggio il Parlamento tedesco discute la legge sull'identità di genere: la lobby all'attacco ovunque

Although the law has yet to be passed, attacks on women have been going on for years.  The most recent transactivist attack targeted the Lesbian Spring Festivalwhich has been held in Germany since 1974. This year in particular, the organisation of the event in Bremen did not include men who perceive themselves as women. Die Bundesstiftung Magnus Hirschfeld (BMH), founded to defend the rights of the LGB community, and also the state of Bremen itself, at the request of Senator Claudia Bernhard (Die Linke), withdraw their financial contributions to the event.

It is important support the Lesbenfrühlingstreffen which this year will be held online due to the pandemic situation. Anyone can buy a ticket and enjoy the different artists, speeches, music and more. the Lesbenfrühlingstreffen is historically a meeting place for discussing ideas and policies by and for women. Tickets available here.

by Ana Julia Di Lisio - RadFem Berlin 

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