Germany elected two trans women into the Bundestag for the first time.
Nyke Slawik and Tessa Ganserer are the first trans women in the Bundestag
With the Greens Nyke Slawik and Tessa Ganserer, two trans women enter parliament for the first time. They want to get involved in queer political issues - but not only.
Nyke Slawik and Tessa Ganserer from the Green Party made history in the Bundestag elections: they were the first trans women to enter parliament.
Although Ganserer was far behind the CSU direct candidate Sebastian Brehm in her constituency of Nuremberg-North, she had nevertheless secured her place on the state list of the Bavarian Greens. “I am still overwhelmed, but I am really looking forward to my new task in Berlin," Ganserer tweeted on Monday morning with the hashtag #QueerRepräsentanzMatters [translates to: Queer representation matters].
Nyke Slawik also entered via her list position. She comes from NRW, her constituency was in Leverkusen, where SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach won the direct mandate.
"I have meanwhile received congratulations from Poland, the UK and the USA. Our trans election success is going around the world," Slawik wrote on Twitter on Monday night.
There has only been one trans MP in the Bundestag so far, Christian Schenk of the Left Party, but Schenk only came out after his term of office ended in 2002. Victoria Broßart of the Green Party and Ria Cybill Geyer (Brandenburg) of the SPD were other trans women on the electoral lists for the 2021 elections, but they did not make it into parliament.
Tessa Ganserer joined the Greens because of "classic environmental issues" such as mobility policy and nature conservation. "They drove me to do politics for years, and I didn't give up these interests when I came out," she said in an interview with the Tagesspiegel, "my heart beats for the forest”. This was already evident in her early years before her political career, when she completed an apprenticeship as a forester.
Ganserer still sees many gaps in the law on queer issues
The 44-year-old is also the queer policy spokesperson for the Green Party's parliamentary group in Bavaria and has championed the interests of the queer community in recent years. She sees the biggest gaps in the law on parentage, which discriminates against lesbian, non-binary and trans parents, and the "degrading transsexual law", which Ganserer says needs to be replaced by a self-determination law.
"The fact that I have to go before a judge so that the state accepts me as I am; that I have to endure psychological assessments; that I have to put up with degrading questions, that is against human dignity and violates the right to self-determination of the Basic Law," Ganserer said.
She herself was listed on the ballot papers in the federal election with her deadname, i.e. the first name she has renounced. Her female first name "Tessa" was merely in brackets. She wrote on Twitter that the mention of her deadname had "exceeded the level of humiliation". As a result, she applied to change her legal name and gender according to the so-called "Transsexual Law.”
She also wants to remain true to her core topic: the environment
With regard to trans people, Ganserer also calls for a legally anchored right to medical care in addition to a reform of this law. What is also needed, she says, are nationwide regulations for financial support for families with same-sex parents wishing to have children and a reform of the General Equality Act. Anti-discrimination offices should also receive more support.
However, Ganserer also wants to remain true to her core topic, the environment. In the interview she said: "It would be a real thrill for me to be allowed to make policy on these issues for the Greens in the Bundestag."
Nyke Slawik calls for more diversity among MPs
At 27, Nyke Slawik belongs to a different generation than Ganserer. Slawik told the Tagesspiegel before the election that more diversity is needed among MPs so that there are finally people sitting there who not only talk about different realities of life, but also know them and can empathise with them.
Slawik was not only alluding to the fact that she is trans. She also alluded to her family background: she comes from a working-class family, her parents met as machinists. She was the first in the family to go to university.
She herself was often "uncomfortable" being "so much in the spotlight because of my identity. But there is so little visibility and so much legal discrimination that I have decided to deal with it head-on," said Slawik. She hopes "that today we can open a new chapter of self-determination in politics and end the years of infantilisation of queer people", she tweeted on the election night.
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