LGBT Life & Retirement in Germany

  • LGBT Life & Retirement in Germany

    Posted by Mark Goldstein on September 2, 2020 at 3:44 PM

    In Germany, every person is free to live out their sexual orientation and identity, and the law protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, and intersex individuals, i.e. the LGBTQIA+ community. Nevertheless, members of these communities still face hostility and discrimination from some people in the society. Find out more about your rights and how to fight discrimination.

    LGBT rights in Germany

    Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Germany have evolved significantly over the course of the last decades. During the 1920s and early 1930s, lesbian and gay people in Berlin were generally tolerated by society and many bars and clubs specifically pertaining to gay men were opened. Although same-sex sexual activity between men was already made illegal under Paragraph 175 by the German Empire in 1871, Nazi Germany extended these laws during World War II, which resulted in the persecution and deaths of thousands of homosexual citizens. The Nazi extensions were repealed in 1950 and same-sex sexual activity between men was decriminalized in both East and West Germany in 1968 and 1969, respectively. The age of consent was equalized in East Germany in 1989 and in unified Germany in 1994.

    Same-sex marriage has been legal since 1 October 2017, after the Bundestag passed legislation giving same-sex couples full marital and adoption rights on 30 June 2017. Prior to that, registered partnerships were available to same-sex couples, having been legalized in 2001. These partnerships provided most though not all of the same rights as marriages, and they ceased to be available after the introduction of same-sex marriage. Same-sex stepchild adoption first became legal in 2005 and was expanded in 2013 to allow someone in a same-sex relationship to adopt a child already adopted by their partner. Discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity vary across Germany, but discrimination in employment and the provision of goods and services is banned nationwide. Transgender people have been allowed to change their legal gender since 1980. The law initially required them to undergo a surgical alteration of their genitals in order to have key identity documents changed. This has since been declared unconstitutional. In May 2020, Germany became the fifth nation in the world to enact a nationwide ban on conversion therapy for minors.

    Despite two of the three main political parties in government being socially conservative on the issues of LGBT rights (CDU/CSU), Germany has frequently been seen as one of the most gay-friendly countries in the world. Recent polls have indicated that a large majority of Germans support same-sex marriage. Another poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center, in 2013 indicated that 87% of Germans believed that homosexuality should be accepted by society, which was the second-highest score in the 39 countries polled, following Spain (88%). Berlin has been referred to by publications as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world.

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