“Historic moment” as Germany’s first transgender MP set for state parliament
Transgender Member of Parliament Tessa Ganserer made history in Germany when she took up seat in the Bavarian regional parliament three months after winning re-election as (still a man) Markus Ganserer. Representing the Green Party, Markus/Tessa Ganserer is Germany’s first openly transgender politician. Ganserer represented Nuremberg North as Markus since 2013, and won reelection in October. From here on she expects to be referred to by the pronouns 'she' and 'her'. In this article we will respect that.
Giving her maiden press conference as a woman, the nation’s first transgender lawmaker used the opportunity to urge Germany to make it easier for people to legally change their gender.
First elected in 2013, the Greens party representative served one term using her birth name Markus, sporting a light beard and glasses with a suit.
She came out a few weeks ago, announcing that she will live and work as a woman from now on, and appeared at Monday’s Munich press conference in a blonde wig, make-up and dark jacket.
“In future it should be possible for a person to apply to change their gender recorded at birth” with the authorities, she said.
“Gender identity is a human right,” Ganserer told reporters, urging an update to the more than 30-year-old law on transgender people.
At present people must secure backing from two doctors to officially change gender.
“I am a woman with every fiber of my body”, Germany’s first transgender MP claimed on Facebook
Ganserer is believed to be the first transgender person in Germany to hold a regional or national MP’s seat, or to change their gender while in office.
Her call for easier recognition of transgender people, cultural change among public servants and action against homophobia and transphobia comes after a series of abrupt changes for Germany – long a laggard on social issues.
Parliament legislated last month for a third gender on birth certificates after a Constitutional Court decision that the documents must acknowledge intersex people.
And in 2017, MPs pushed through gay marriage after Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would allow members of her party to vote with their conscience.
Just a few weeks ago, she had said both Markus and Tessa remained a part of her.
But from now on she hopes to live as a female politician, (and from now) “wife and mother of two children”.
While Bavaria is a strongly conservative and mostly Catholic region, the president of the regional parliament Ilse Aigner of the Christian Social Union (CSU) backed the change.
“Mrs Ganserer has taken a very brave and highly personal decision,” Aigner said last week.
The CSU usually takes very conservative positions on social questions and opposed the federal gay marriage law.
“Our male colleague is becoming a female colleague, that should not be a problem in this house,” Aigner said in a public statement after speaking with Ganserer.