For minors over the age of 14, they will need their parents’ or legal representatives’ consent. In the case of children under the age of 14, the parents would need to submit the necessary declaration to the registry office.

“As populist politicians in Europe and beyond try to use trans rights as a political wedge issue, Germany’s new law sends a strong message that trans people exist and deserve recognition and protection, without discrimination,” Cristian González Cabrera, a senior LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

Some critics describe the new law as misogynistic, with lawmaker Sahra Wagenknecht saying: “If men can declare themselves to be women through a mere speech act, women’s rights and women’s safe spaces will soon be a thing of the past.”

She added: “Instead of carefully reforming the legal situation, which would have made sense, the traffic light [a nickname for Germany’s governing coalition] passes a misogynistic law that turns parents and children into guinea pigs for an ideology from which only the pharmaceutical industry benefits.”

Under the current Transsexual Law which dates back to 1980, medical reports are a prerequisite for changing a person’s gender entry and a court has to give its approval.

Argentina, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Uruguay have in recent years removed burdensome requirements for legal gender recognition, according to Human Rights Watch. Those countries now provide for simple administrative legal gender recognition processes based on self-declaration.

Germany’s new law will enter into force from November. Approval by the Bundesrat, the upper house of parliament, is not required.

End