German MP Tessa Ganserer comes out as transgender
German MP Tessa Ganserer has come out as transgender and is set to return to work after transitioning to female.
The Green Party lawmaker, who sits in the regional Bavarian parliament, appeared presenting as a woman for the first time at a January 14 press conference, before the chamber begins its new session.
Ganserer was first elected to the chamber in 2013 while presenting as male, and won re-election in October’s regional elections under her former name, Markus Ganserer.
She is the first out transgender person to sit in a regional or national Parliament in Germany, according to AFP.
Tessa Ganserer: Outdated transgender laws need updating
Ganserer said her experience of transitioning had demonstrated the need for Germany to update the 1980 Transsexual Act, which provides a convoluted process for trans people to change their legal name and gender.
Ganserer said: “Gender identity is a human right… in future it should be possible for a person to apply to change their gender recorded at birth.”
The 41-year-old explained she has known she is transgender for a decade, adding: “I am not doing this for fun… I didn’t choose to be a woman.”
‘Brave’ transgender MP Tessa Ganserer praised by Parliament head
CSU politician Ilse Aigner, President of the Bavarian Parliament, has expressed her support for Ganserer’s right to transgender, and made clear that the politician should be regarded as female in the Parliament.
Aigner said: “[Her gender identity] should not be a problem in this house.
“A person’s personality is always more important than their gender. Mrs Ganserer has taken a very brave and highly personal decision.”
Aigner says she will issue a directive instructing everyone in the Parliament to “treat Mrs. Ganserer as a woman and we will do that regardless of the legal situation.”
Ganserer has faced abuse in the chamber before coming out as trans, facing heckles of “drag queen” from members of the FDP party when she wore a wig to parliament.
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Attitudes towards LGBT+ issues in Germany are largely progressive, with a 2018 poll finding that 70 percent of people would support a law requiring insurance companies to pay for gender surgery for transgender people.
There are very few out transgender lawmakers across the world.
In the US, Danica Roem made history in 2017 when she was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, becoming the first out trans woman to sit in a US state or federal legislature.
In Brazil, Érica Malunguinho became the first out trans woman elected to a legislature in October 2018, winning a seat on the Legislative Assembly of São Paulo.
Belgian Green politician Petra De Sutter was elected to the country’s Senate in 2014.