Two transgender women win seats in German Parliament

BERLIN – Two German politicians from the Greens have made history by becoming the first transgender women to win parliamentary seats in Sunday’s (Sept 25) national election.

Ms Tessa Ganserer and Ms Nyke Slawik stood for the Greens party, which came in third in the election, increasing its share of the vote to 14.8 per cent from 8.9 per cent in 2017 and is set to play a pivotal role in the building of a new three-way coalition government.

“It is a victory for the Greens, but also for the trans-emancipatory movement and for the entire queer community,” Ms Ganserer, 44, told Reuters, adding that the results were a symbol of an open and tolerant society.

Topping the priority list for Ms Ganserer, who was elected to Bavaria’s regional Parliament in 2013, is an easier procedure for ratifying a change of gender on identity documents. Ms Ganserer, who has two sons, also wants legislative changes to allow lesbian mothers to adopt children.

Ms Slawik, 27, said the results were unbelievable. She secured a seat in Parliament through the Greens list of candidates in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

“Madness! I still can’t quite believe it, but with this election result, I will definitely be a of the next Bundestag,” Ms Slawik posted on Instagram.

Ms Slawik has called for a nationwide action plan against homophobia and transphobia, a self-determination law, and improvements to the federal anti-discrimination law.

Homosexuality was decriminalised in Germany in 1969 and same-sex marriage legalised in 2017. But hate crimes against LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and related communities) people jumped by 36 per cent last year, according to police figures that highlight a rising trend of homophobia in parts of German society.

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