Karlsruhe wants more than man and woman

Karlsruhe wants more than man and woman

What is more than self-evident for most, makes a minority of people hard to deal with: Am I a man or a woman? The Federal Constitutional Court now demands that the problem be taken into account. Praise comes from the Ethics Council.

After four years, the boomerang comes back: Although the Bundestag had amended the Personal Status Act in 2013 and in principle made another gender possible in addition to man and woman, at the same time it raised a number of legal questions without resolving them.

Now the Federal Constitutional Court has ruled that the legislature must allow a further gender entry in the birth register in addition to male and female. The regulation affects all those who do not see themselves as men or women. The decision of the First Senate deliberately leaves open how exactly the parliament implements this requirement.

Multiple forms

Intersexuality can be shown by chromosomes, hormones or anatomical sex characteristics. There are many forms of discrimination. In the past, genital reassignment surgery was usually performed in early childhood, supplemented by long-term hormonal follow-up treatment. Intersexuals saw it partly a biological standardization and forced treatment.

In the meantime, doctors are more reserved. Affected are according to estimates between one and two of thousand people. The problem has arisen since the first decades of the 20th century. The ie of gender is increasingly becoming part of general awareness in the twenty-first century.

Intersexuals are to be distinguished from transsexuals. The latter can be assigned to one gender, but feel they belong to the other gender and want to be recognized accordingly. These cases are largely regulated by law.

Ethics council deals with topic

In 2011, the German Ethics Council also dealt with the problems of intersexual people. He recommended that affected persons should later be allowed to decide their own fate, unless an intervention is "necessary due to unjustifiable reasons of the child's well-being".

The First Senate, which reached its decision on Wednesday by a vote of seven to one, stressed that the current regulations of personal status law are incompatible with the Basic Law because they violate the ban on discrimination. The assignment to a gender is of "outstanding importance". This also applies to those "who can be assigned neither to the male nor the female sex". The possibility of entering "missing information" for the gender is not sufficient.

A new regulation must now be created by the end of 2018. For this, according to the specifications of the court, a "bureaucratic and financial effort" of the authorities must be accepted. But at the same time, Karlsruhe pointed out a way to get around exactly that: by generally dispensing with gender entries in the future. The Ethics Council had already pointed in that direction in 2011, advising lawmakers to examine "whether an entry of gender in the civil registry is still necessary at all" as a basis for decisions.

Moral theologian welcomes decision

In a first statement, the Catholic moral theologian Andreas Lob-Hudepohl welcomed the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court on intersexuality. "Intersexual persons deserve full recognition and respect as such," he told Deutsche Welle on Wednesday.

Lob-Hudepohl is a member of the German Ethics Council. "From an ethical point of view, intersexuality is a bodily conditioned, exceptional variant of the ordinary bisexuality of human life and its sexual development pathways," the ethicist said.

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