Ministries provide basic pillars for the “Self-Determination Law” – Trans: On the Normalization of Abnormalities

The Federal Minister of Justice utters the word “normal life” intermittently. “We’re ensuring some normality,” says Marco Buschmann (FDP) before a federal press conference presenting the cornerstone of the “Self-Determination Act” with Family Minister Lisa Bowes (Green Party). This is really amazing. Otherwise, in all questions of sexual identity and sexual self-determination, recognition of deviations is required. For some, normativeness itself has a taste that restricts freedom. So please don’t behave in a harmless and “normal” way, dear traffic light.

“Normal” in the colloquial sense – for Bushman – is to become what was hitherto unnatural, i.e. to change sex. With the Self-Determination Act, the traffic light government wants to facilitate the change of an individual’s first name and so-called marital status, that is, its normalization. Bushman told reporters today that changing the official type assignment should be as easy as “extending your passport” or easier, because “you don’t need a passport photo.”

The following shall apply to persons over 18 years of age: it is sufficient to declare before the registry office and the man becomes a woman or the woman becomes a man. External physical characteristics, characteristics or even just causes have absolutely nothing to do with the change of gender, it is just an act of will. Only the registry office should check whether it is seriously intended, but this is also the case with other advertisements displayed on the office. Nothing new in Germany. “Anyone intoxicated is sent home by the registrar,” Buschman says. The ban period is twelve months intended to prevent abuse. The game of ping pong cannot be expected between the sexes, as Bushman called it. “You don’t do it for fun and money,” the minister thought.

Against discrimination against transgender people

So far, the Transgender Act of 1981 has been implemented. According to the Department of Justice and Family Affairs, this “needs to be fixed for at least 20 years.” Even now, intersex and transgender people are often discriminated against, Minister Bowes explains. It was only possible to change his first name and enter his gender with great effort, unworthy administrative procedures, and two expert opinions. The pathogenesis of infected persons was “inhumane and degrading”. The current main points and enactments resulting from the regulation of physical changes, medical gender transition will not affect, but rather only entry into the civil registry, ie “social transformation”, as it is called in technical terminology.

But why does Bushman downplay the importance of the project? Why does he emphasize this long-existing natural state, which is now only enforced by law. It is a disturbingly vague political connection, which on the one hand reduces the scale of the project, even indicating unnecessary excitement, as Bushman did yesterday, and on the other hand cannot cheer the act of liberation large enough. People care about our society’s great promise of freedom, which is now a reality. In fact, this double argument avoids social debate. Because very few people support discrimination against minorities and hardly anyone has anything against “normality” in our free society. However, this key issues paper deserves a controversial discussion and not to be underestimated. This is especially true of the regulations that the government provides for children and youth.

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Sex change from 14 years old

From the age of 14, every young person in the future should be able to freely choose their gender identity, regardless of their biological conditions. If the parents do not agree, the family court can decide. We already doubt it, the Federal Minister of Justice considers this perfectly normal. Even today, there are conflicts between parents and children, which at worst end in court. Fortunately, most families are able to settle disputes without going to court.

But why is it possible to change gender identity before the age of 18, when a firm and lasting decision, especially in adulthood, is often not expected? There was no satisfactory answer from Baus and Bushman to today’s question. Sexual self-determination does not begin at age 18. The Minister of Justice explained the phenomenon with the simple sentence that gender identity is different from biological sex. According to an explanatory text, this biological species is recorded at birth, “usually after the genitals.” It remained unclear whether parents could change this before the age of 14.

Ministers avoided the hot spot in medical and surgical interventions. This is not part of this law. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) still has to offer something on these questions. Buschmann also tried to calm the excitement. According to previous medical practices, it is not recommended to change sex before the age of 18 years. He did not comment on the so-called puberty blockers, which only make sense in young adults. But if formal gender changes are now possible for young people, how should the debate continue when it comes to regulating irreversible medical interventions? Why isn’t there an open discussion here, too?

Equality limits?

Finally, Secretary Bowes was asked about the problem that women could feel uncomfortable, for example, if trans women appeared in the changing rooms of fitness studios who were visually recognizable as men. There may also be problems with transgender people when it comes to women’s quota or sports. The response was brief: “Trans women are women.” Therefore, she sees no “need for discussion”. In fact, even with this law, not all questions of equality have been clarified, she admitted. She was asked if she had specific suggestions for a solution. The answer was “no”.

The intense feelings of Buschmann and Paus come from nothing when social policy, as here with the “law of self-determination”, remains in great symbols and the consequences of radical changes and innovations are not at all recognized and never reversed. Changing the sex is not harmful, even those who are really affected know it. Can a policy do justice to the problem of a “normal state” that will not be entirely present in human life, biologically, practically, and perhaps even culturally?

Perhaps the transgender law should be repealed, perhaps the obstacles to changing the sex of adult victims have been too great so far. Baws and Bushman also protested that it would never become a mass phenomenon. But there may still be contrasts and middle ground between pathological normalization and ideologically motivated “normalization” that helps those affected, rather than simply amplifying the whole thing with modern discourse about freedom and liberation. The transgender issue has created a pseudo-social and political giant that does not always help those affected, can upset and sometimes tempt children and young people and create social and political polarization that does not benefit “normal life”, but extremists on all shores.

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