LGBTIQ* Rights

Authors: Psych. (M.Sc.) Lu Kenntner & Moe Albarzawi

The legal situation for LGBTQI* persons differs around the world. Over the past few years there have been significant improvements towards equality in some countries, but also deteriorations in others. This often depends on the current political situation in a given country. Homosexuality is still a criminal offence in some 80 countries worldwide. Those affected are threatened with forced marriages, fines, prison sentences, torture or even the death penalty. This discrimination usually emanates from governments, religious institutions and parts of mainstream society. An overview of the rights of LGBTQI* persons worldwide was published by The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA): It should however be noted that laws do not always fully reflect how LGBTQI* issues are really dealt with in society. The situation for trans and intersex persons is more seldom rooted in law. Generally levels of marginalization, persecution, poverty, violence and murders of trans and intersex persons are still very high worldwide.

Even in Germany, where rights of LGBTQI* persons are largely protected, discrimination is still somewhat present. Hetero and cis sexuality are still considered the norm and are attributed to everyone. Furthermore, there are societal prejudices, which can take the form of discrimination towards persons who do not correspond to hetero and cisnormativity.

The following are some legislative developments in Germany:

  • Same-sex marriage has been legal since October 1, 2017.
  • The adoption of stepchildren first became legal in 2005.
  • Any discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin, gender, religion, disability, age or sexual orientation is illegal and leads to the fulfillment or termination of civil law obligations (Part 3, section 19 of the German General Law on Equal Treatment (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz).
  • Discrimination in the workplace and in the provision of goods and services is prohibited nationwide (the catholic church can dismiss persons who have entered into a same-sex marriage).
  • Trans persons have been able to change their legal gender since 1980.
  • Since the end of 2018, people can choose a third gender "divers" on legal records, as long as a doctor has certified "differences of sex development".However, for many non-binary persons this is still not an option.

For further information, see:

Last updated: 03/10/2021 - 14:42

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