The German legislature (Bundestag) passed a law in March 2021 which will prohibit most cases of intersex genital mutilation perpetuated against children. As reported in Zeit Online and Der Spiegel, procedures intended solely to force a child’s body to conform to either “male” or “female” will no longer be permitted in Germany.
According to the Bundestag, parents can only authorize gender-conforming genital surgery “…if the intervention cannot be postponed until a later self-determined decision of the child.”
“In addition, consent to such an intervention generally requires approval from the family court. But if the intervention is necessary to avert a threat to life or health, and the family court procedure can no longer be waited for, no approval is required.”
The two largest political parties (CDU [center-right] and SPD [center-left]), which comprise the ruling coalition, supported the legislation. Three additional parties (FDP [center], LINKE [far-left], and GRÜNE [green]) agreed with the intent, but abstained from voting because they did not believe that the law as written would adequately protect children. The AfD [far-right] opposed the measure.
PDF text of the bill:
Archive of related documents:
See the two German news reports below, with English translations provided by Google Translate in Chrome.
Bundestag votes for greater protection for intersex children
Unnecessary gender reassignment interventions will be prohibited in the future. The rights of parents are restricted for this, decided a majority of the Union and the SPD.
March 26, 2021
Parents of intersex children are no longer allowed to undergo gender reassignment surgery on their offspring. The Bundestag decided to ban these treatments. There are only a few exceptions. Intersexuality means that the sum of the physical sex characteristics of a person cannot be clearly assigned to the categories of man or woman . The now banned treatments aim to bring the physical appearance of a child into line with that of the male or female sex.
In future, parents can only agree to a gender-changing operation if the operation cannot be postponed until the child makes a self-determined decision. In addition, parents are not allowed to perform treatments such as the administration of medication or hormones themselves. Surgical interventions must always be approved by a family court. They must also clearly serve the best interests of the child, which a commission must confirm. There is an exception in the case of danger to life or health.
The CSU legal politician Paul Lehrieder said that the law protects the right to gender self-determination and protects those affected from unnecessary treatment. It is estimated that there are around 160,000 intersex people in Germany.
The law was passed with the votes of the Union and the SPD. The FDP, the Left and the Greens abstained and criticized that there were still gaps in protection. They also called for the creation of a central register for gender-changing treatments so that those affected can obtain comprehensive information about interventions that have occurred long ago. The AfD rejected the law and criticized it as a “bureaucratic monster” that burdens affected children, parents, doctors and family judges and harms the welfare of the child.
Gender reassignment surgery prohibited in children
Operations to adapt the sex of a child to the binary order of “male” and “female” are now banned after the decision in the Bundestag. The law does not go far enough for the opposition.
March 26, 2021
Parents of intersex children will no longer be allowed to undergo gender reassignment operations on their offspring. The Bundestag decided late Thursday a ban on treatments that are to adjust a child to the male or female physical appearance. Exceptions are only allowed if the intervention cannot be postponed medically and is approved by an interdisciplinary committee.
With the draft law of the Ministry of Justice, a point from the coalition agreement between the Union and the SPD had been implemented. The parties had agreed that gender reassignment surgery should not be performed just to adjust the sex of the child to the binary order of “male” and “female”.
The CSU legal politician Paul Lehrieder declared that the law protects the right to gender self-determination and protects those affected from unnecessary treatment.
It is estimated that around 160,000 people in the Federal Republic of Germany were born with not clearly defined gender characteristics. It is unclear exactly how many children could be affected, since births of babies with an ambiguous gender are not statistically recorded in Germany.
Opposition sees the rights of those affected not being adequately protected
The FDP , the Left and the Greens abstained from voting in the Bundestag. Although they support the objective, they do not see the rights of those affected as being adequately protected.
Clear rejection came only from the AfD. Their family policy spokesman Martin Reichardt spoke of ideological delusion at the expense of the child’s best interests.