Checklist: How does an application under the TSG work?
1. Submit an informal application to the local court
This application includes the first names and gender entry that the applicant wishes to use in the future. In addition, suggestions for transsensitive experts who will function as future evaluators during the process can be made. If the applicant is not able to bear the costs for the court and the expert opinion, it is advisable to apply for legal aid at this stage.
You can find an example of such an application in the section Formulare in the Queerlexicon. (Only available in German language)
Minors can also file an application according to the TSG. However, with a few exceptions, they are considered incapable of acting in legal proceedings. Therefore, they must either present permission of legal guardian(s) for court proceedings or make use of legal representation. Such authorisation can be demonstrated, for example, in the form of a declaration signed by the person(s) with custody.
The local court will then get back to you in writing and name the experts who have been commissioned for the process (usually the experts requested in the application are confirmed). At this point, an advance payment for the expert opinions must be made.
2. Obtain expert opinions
The application may only be granted after the trans or non-binary person has obtained two expert opinions 10. An expert opinion can be acquired from (at least) one interview with each of the experts appointed by the district court. With reference to the application and the feedback of the district court, the applicant can arrange appointments for the expert opinions.
In most cases, the expert opinions are positive, i.e. in favour of the applicant.
Nevertheless, this process is stressful for many trans and non-binary people. It sometimes takes several months and is perceived by many as very degrading, among other reasons because the applicant cannot proceed in a self-determined manner and their expertise about their own gender is not being recognised.
It is not uncommon for trans and non-binary people to have to deal with evaluators who have little or no awareness of trans and queer issues. They may be asked intrusive questions, or the experts base their assessments on stereotypes about “male” and “female” behaviour.
The selection of the experts can therefore play a critical role to ensure that the process runs as smoothly as possible. You can provide valuable assistance by researching counselling centres and initiatives in your area for recommended experts.
You can do more than just help with the search for suitable experts. Let your child know that you are there for them. Listen when they turn to you and take any fears and experiences of discrimination that they may have reported seriously. You can also celebrate the joy of a positive outcome of an assessment. If necessary, deliberate together on how you can make the process as pleasant as possible.
3. Court hearing of the application
After the expert opinions have been prepared, the applicant attends a hearing in front of the respective court. Following the hearing, the court will decide whether or not to approve the application. If the application is rejected, an objection can be filed or a new application can be submitted.
The legal guardians or legal representatives of minor/underage applicants must also be present.
4. Change or adjustment of the (official) documents
With the successful outcome of the procedure, the first names and gender entry mentioned in the application become legally binding. From this point on, this information must be used everywhere, whether at school, place of work or in official letters from authorities. Bank or health insurance cards must also be issued in the names that are valid with immediate effect by the relevant authorities.In addition, important documents such as old school reports, membership cards or contracts can also be changed at a later date.
Official documents such as identity cards or passports can now also be changed or adapted.
Ask the young trans or non-binary person if you can help with applying for and organising the change of name and civil status. For example, you could provide tips on cover letter wording.
The Trans-Kinder-Netz e.V., for instance, has compiled a list of documents that can be changed after the name change. You can find the document here. (Only in German language)