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Europe moves towards self-ID for trans people

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Elinor Höke hates going to the doctor’s. The transgender student is registered under her former name, and dreads hearing it shouted across the crowded waiting room at her local clinic in western Germany. “It’s what my insurance card says, but being called ‘Mr.

Höke’ is weird for everyone and also degrading for me,” the 22-year-old said in a video call from the city of Bochum. Like many trans Germans, Höke hopes the government will fulfill its promise to pass a self-ID law this year that would make it easier to change legal gender, joining a growing list of countries around the world that allow self-declaration.

Under the current law, trans Germans have to go to court and provide two expert reports, usually from psychotherapists, to change their first name and legal gender on official documents such as their insurance card, passport and driving licence.

For many trans people, the process is burdensome and intrusive, and it can also cost several thousand euros to complete, Höke said. “I haven’t done it in the hope that the self-ID law will eventually come,” she told Openly.

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