On 15 August 2018, a new draft bill to adjust legal sex registration of intersex persons was made public in Germany. Below you can read OII Europe response to this problematic bill.
Response of OII Europe to the draft law amending sex registration by the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, for Building and Community of 15.8.2018.
We welcome the fact that the Federal Government has decided in favour of using the term “diverse” instead of “further”(weiteres) for the sex marker in legal sex registration.
However, we reject the draft of the “Act amending the Civil Status Act” by the Federal Ministry of the Interior published on 15.8.2018. In this draft self-determination on sex registration will only exist for a narrow, medically defined group of people. Thus, leading to renewed pathologisation of intersex persons and excluding all others who reject a legal male or female sex designation for themselves.
Instead, we call for the abolition of sex registration at birth, which would make such special treatment unnecessary and would allow all people self-determination in sex and gender.
As already mentioned in our statement of 25 July 2018, the extremely urgent ban on unnecessary non-consensual ‘normalising’ medical interventions in children announced in the coalition agreement must finally be implemented!
These are the main problems of the draft law amending the Civil Status Act:
– Preparatory work by intersex and trans associations ignored:
In the last legislative period, the German Institute for Human Rights, on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ), presented a draft law on sex and gender diversity agreed upon with intersex and trans associations. This preparatory work and that of the Interministerial Working Group Trans* and Inter* are in no way taken into account by the draft bill of the Federal Ministry of the Interior. Neither have intersex or trans associations been included in its development.
– Surgical ban postponed again:
The agreement in the coalition agreement, according to which the federal government “wants to clarify by law that medical interventions to adjust the sex of children are only permissible in cases that cannot be postponed in order to avert danger to life”, has no substantive coherence with the proposed changes in sex registration, as provided for in above mentioned draft law on sex and gender diversity. It is to be feared that this problem, which is far more urgent for intersex people, will once again be put on the back burner.
– Pathologization and intervention in physical integrity:
According to the draft, a medical certificate of a “variation of sex development” should be a prerequisite for a later voluntary replacement of the sex marker in the legal registration by the indication “various” or to be left open. For intersex persons without medical documents or diagnosis, this implies a series of often invasive physical examinations, especially of the internal and external genitals. These and other examinations can result in (re-)traumatisation for intersex people. By requiring Intersex persons to present a medical certificate of a “variation of sex development”, healthy people are (re)pathologised. OII Europe rejects the medical term “variation/disorder of sex development” and demands that authorities and the media respect and use the terms used in the community, such as “variations of sex characteristics”, “intersex persons” or “Inter*”.
– Special legal treatment dependent on medical defining power:
Instead of reducing discrimination against intersex people, the draft law of the Federal Ministry of the Interior amounts to special treatment of a group of persons on the basis of congenital physical sex characteristics, which are classified by doctors as disorders (“differences”) from the male/female standard. Children who, from a medical point of view, “cannot be assigned to either the female or the male sex” are required to leave their sex marker open or state “diverse”, which is not desirable. Thus, the sex existence of the children depends on medical defining power. In addition, they are publicly marked as “miscellaneous” by compulsory registration or with an open entry for the legal sex registration. If sex registration was omitted for all children, as provided for in the above mentioned draft law on sex and gender diversity, this problem would not exist.
– Narrowing down to “variations of sex development” instead of open up for everyone:
A self-determined legal sex marker should be open to all people whose gender identity does not correspond to the female or male sex marker. As long as sex registration is not completely abolished, both intersex and non-binary persons and all people who cannot or do not want to assign themselves to one of the two sex markers must have access to a self-determined entry. A medical certificate of a “variation of sex development” says nothing about the gender identity of the person concerned. The bill does not correspond to the realities of life of people who are intersex, trans and/or gender non-binary.
– A positive change in legal sex registration must not lead to further discrimination and pathologisation of intersex and trans people on the basis of their bodies and identities!
No sex registration at birth or complete abolishment of sex registration!
Only self-determined legal sex markers!
Prohibition of non-consensual and not or not fully informed sex assigning medical interventions, especially on children!
Our sex is ours – for the acceptance and equality of all sexes and genders!