The name “Tessa Ganserer” did not appear on the ballot in Sunday’s election, but Ms. Ganserer still won a seat representing a district of Nuremberg, making history as one of the first two openly transgender people to join the German Parliament.
She had to run under the name her parents gave her at birth, because she refused to submit to the country’s 40-year-old law requiring a medical certificate before a person can legally change name and gender identity.
Another trans woman, Nyke Slawik, 27, also won a seat. Both belong to the Greens Party, which stands a strong chance of entering into government as part of a coalition.
“Crazy!” Ms. Slawik wrote on her Instagram page. “I still can’t really believe it, but after this historic election result I will definitely be part of the next German Parliament.”
Ms. Ganserer, 44, wrote on her Facebook page: “It was the election campaign of our lives and it was worth it. The old, backward thinking was punished yesterday.”
In 2017, Germany legalized same-sex marriage and adoption by gay parents, and passed a partial ban on conversion therapy, which aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
This year, the country banned operations intended to assign babies to particular sexes if they are born with sex characteristics. That means parents can no longer make that choice; the children get the right to decide for themselves later in life. But lawmakers rejected two bills proposed by the Greens and the Free Democrats that would more generally make it simpler for transgender people to self-identify.
Currently they are required under the country’s Transsexuality Law, passed in 1981, to obtain a medical certificate, at the cost of hundreds to thousands of dollars. Working to change that requirement, which opponents describe as stigmatizing as well as costly, will be one of Ms. Ganserer’s priorities in Parliament, she said.
Olaf Scholz, the Social Democratic candidate who hopes to become chancellor, during the campaign blamed the Christian Democratic Union for the failure to change the medical certificate law under the previous government. Rights groups are hopeful that the combination of a Social Democrat-led government and two trans representatives will give an impetus to change.