New legislation in Luxembourg and Austria

In both Luxembourg and Austria there have recently been ground-breaking changes to the legal situation for intersex people. According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung of 27 July 2018, the majority of Luxembourg citizens last Wednesday voted in favour of a new law that would greatly simplify the process for transgender and intersex people to change their civil status and name. Medical certificates and medical interventions are no longer necessary for this, provided that the corresponding change can be convincingly justified. All the person has to do is submit an application to the Ministry of Justice. Minors could also use this procedure to change their name or civil status if supported by their parents. If this is not the case, the application is brought before the court, which decides in the interest of the child. However, the categories “female” and “male” will apparently remain in place in Luxembourg.

According to the journal “JUS AMANDI”, the journal for same-sex love and law, the existing sex categories in Austria are to be extended to include a third sex. Similar to the “Third Option” campaign in Germany, this amendment to the law was brought about by the constitutional complaint of an intersex person. This person had wanted to change their sex entry in the birth register to “inter”, “other” or “X”, which had been rejected by the registry office and the regional administrative court but was finally recognised by the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court had stressed that the sex entry in the birth register had to reflect the individual gender identity – if this was not the case, it should be adapted according to each case. In addition, it is possible to leave the sex entry open or to retrospectively delete an existing entry. Austria was the first European country and the third in the world, after Nepal and India, to acknowledge recognition of the third sex as a human right.

The extent to which Germany will follow the examples of Luxembourg and Austria remains to be seen. It is clear that both the simplification of the procedure for changing names and civil status in Luxembourg and the introduction of further sex categories in Austria mean a depathologisation of intersex and transgender; the focus is shifting away from medical intervention towards autonomous gender identity.

Here you can find links to the article from the Süddeutsche Zeitung and to JUS AMANDI.