On May 19th the German Parliament discusses the law on gender identity: the lobby is on the attack everywhere
Supported by Die Grünen (Greens), FDP and Die Linke (Socialist Party), the bill introducing gender self-certification arrives at the Bundestag. For the first time, public funds were denied to the Lesbian Spring Festival, a historic meeting since 1974

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In Germany from 1980 to 2011 Lhe transsexual law or “TSG” has had several changes. Currently, the law is in line with similar ones in other European countries, where the "sex change" can only take place after two consultations with different doctors close to the problem of "feeling of the opposite sex" or transsexuality, not necessarily psychologists. Subsequently the final step in court which can generally last between 8 weeks and 6 months and costs around 3,300 euros. 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 the gender on their identity document must demonstrate 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 last change in 2011 the person had to resort to a "sex change" operation to obtain the legal exchange, but after this latest reform it is no longer mandatory to "resemble" 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 from girls aged 13 and over with approval of parents, as there is no age limit for these types of surgeries if they are endorsed by the parents. In Berlin, schools are forced to respect minors' "gender self-identification" without needing parental approval according to the regulations of the district Ministry of Education.

The administration of puberty blockers has become popular among doctors' recommendations for minors and adolescents, although potentially discouraged by responsible medical professionals as there is no evidence it can be changed, and there is 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 say they feel like the "other sex" give up at the end of puberty. But taking puberty blockers or hormones creates irreversible damage, in women it increases heart problems by 40 to 60%, their voice changes forever and all their tissues are involved, with serious risk of sterility.

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

Last June 11, 2020 Die Grüne, the party that most promotes the law on “gender self-identification” brought the first reading of the bill in the Bundestag (the German Parliament) together with FPD, the ultra-neoliberal party. Even the party Die Linke, German socialist left supports this law, although over the months it has become clear how divided the party is on these policies. THEGermany's second largest 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 became known that the discussion of this law would be put on hold until after the elections next September 2021. Unfortunately, however, knowing that they did not have government approval of coalition, Die Grüne intends to present the discussion of the “Self-ID” law again in the Bundestag on 19 May 2021 and given that this would be the third presentation of the bill, it becomes automatic voting, with the possibility of approval.

By interviewing various politicians and communicating through various media, we feminists have obtained favorable but also disturbing responses. On one side the politicians themselves have told us that the law is being pushed by a very well organized lobby, intelligent and tenacious which makes it very difficult to handle an opposition immediately branded phobic, discredited as far-right and against human rights. In any case, the law is not expected to be approved in the next few days for several reasons: a relevant reason is that the SPD, which governs in coalition with the CDU, is expected to vote against it together with the CDU. Another important element is the pressure of feminists and gender critics in education and society in general, together with some media that have explored the risks for women and girls, such as the historic feminist magazine EMMA Magazin edited by Alice Schwarzer or the newspaper FAZ which has conducted very strong investigations into the dangers that the approval of such a law would imply for society.

We at Radfem Berlin we are asking feminists living in Germany to write to politicians in the Bundestag (email address here) to invite them to prevent the passage of a law that legally erases women, which exposes lesbians to having to accept the “women with penises" so as not to be 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. If girls and boys were to be further influenced by an ideology that has been spreading relentlessly on the internet for years, we as parents could not do anything, because the consequences would be extreme: fines, imprisonment or even loss of custody of the children.

The law on gender identity has already proven itself in other countries, such as Argentina and Canada, to be one conversion therapy for gay boys and lesbian girls who now have to identify as “non-binary” or “trans men.” In these countries women prisoners are raped and assaulted by men who have committed the worst crimes against women and that just for having stated that he "feels" of the opposite sex, can have access to women's prisons where they perpetuate their crimes. Nothing can be done because of these misogynistic laws that authorize 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 violence. However, once the law on “gender self-identification” proposed by Die Grüne is approved, any man with a “female” ID will be treated like women even by prison law. 

Although the law has yet to be approved, attacks on women have been ongoing for years.  The most recent transactivist attack targeted the Lesbian Spring Festival, which has been held since 1974 in Germany. This year in particular, the organization of the event to be held in Bremen did not include men who perceive themselves as women, and for this reason transactivism has harshly attacked the organization, managing to obtain that government institutions such as the 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 financial contributions to the event.

It's 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 it is historically a meeting place to discuss ideas and policies by and for women. Tickets available for purchase here.

by Ana Julia Di Lisio – RadFem Berlin 

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