New rules written into Swiss law will allow Transgender and Intersex citizens of Switzerland aged 16 and older to adjust their gender and legal name status on official documents by self-declaration at the civil registry office taking effect starting January 1st, 2022.
The changes were passed on 18 December 2020, when the Swiss Parliament passed a bill for legal gender recognition (LGR) procedures based on self-determination. Previously Swiss law required require a certificate from a medical professional confirming an individual’s transgender identity.
In addition, under the current law, Legal Gender Recognition, (LGR) procedures in Switzerland are still based on court proceedings that vary from court to court or even from judge to judge. The new law will not only simplify and standardize the procedure but will also be less expensive, quicker and based on self-determination.
According to Transgender Network Switzerland, costs will be reduced to an administrative fee of 75 CHF. Under the old law, LGR could cost up to 1.000 CHF.
Transgender Europe, (TGEU), a network of different organizations working to combat discrimination against trans people and support trans people rights, welcomed the adoption of the legislation last year. TGEU’s Executive Director, Masen Davis noted: “Especially given the backlash against trans people’s human rights in 2020, we are happy to see this law pass before the end of the year. Some countries have shown major step-backs in legal gender recognition, such as Hungary or Russia. It offers our communities some hope to see the Swiss example.”
As the law takes effect, TGEU and the Transgender Network Switzerland (TGNS) expressed criticism that for those younger people and those under adult protection will require parent/guardian consent.
In a media release last December TGNS noted:
“The joy that Switzerland has achieved the current human rights standard for adult intersex and trans women and men is, however, severely clouded in the communities concerned. In contrast to today, under-16s and people under comprehensive assistance can only apply for the change in the future with the consent of the legal representative, even if they are capable of judgment. You are the only one whose personal rights are restricted in this way, although the change in the gender entry does not affect anyone other than yourself.
“Today could be a great day of joy for us: We have wanted a simple, self-determination process for years. But today we are mainly shocked by the way in which Parliament deals with intersex and trans young people. Today’s decision worsens the situation of young people massively and contradicts children’s rights. With this decision the parliament provokes – consciously – great suffering of a minority and lets conflicts in families escalate. “Comments Audrey Aegerter, President of InterAction Suisse, on the approved proposal. And Alecs Recher, who heads TGNS’s legal advice, adds with a view to implementation: “We will support all young people and assisted trans and intersex people, so that they receive the correct gender entry despite this new hurdle! We call on Federal Councilor Keller-Suter and Parliament to observe the practical effects of the approval requirement and to make the necessary corrections. “
Switzerland joins Ireland, Belgium, Portugal and Norway as one of the few countries on the continent that allow a person to legally change gender without hormone therapy, medical diagnosis or further evaluation or bureaucratic steps.