Germany has never before had a transgender woman MP. Now it has two

Nyke Slawik and Tessa Ganserer have campaigned for more inclusive governance

Arpan Rai
Tuesday 28 September 2021 10:00
<p>Tessa Ganserer (L) and  Nyke Slawik (R) also helped push their Green party’s vote share</p>

Tessa Ganserer (L) and Nyke Slawik (R) also helped push their Green party’s vote share

In a historic moment for Germany’s LGBT+ community, two transgender women from the Green party have won parliamentary seats in the country’s election.

Becoming the first transgender women to enter the country’s parliament, Tessa Ganserer and Nyke Slawik described the results as “unbelievable” and a “historic victory”.

Ms Ganserer said the results were symbolic of an open and tolerant society. “It is a historic victory for the Greens, but also for the trans-emancipatory movement and for the entire queer community,” she said. Ms Ganserer was elected to Parliament from the southeastern state of Bavaria. She has been a member of the Bavarian state parliament since 2013.

“Madness! I still can’t quite believe it, but with this historic election result, I will definitely be a member of the next Bundestag [parliament],” said 27-year-old Ms Slawik on her Instagram. Ms Slawik will represent the western state of North-Rhine Westphalia.

The duo also helped push the Green party’s vote share to rank third in the recent elections. The centre-left Social Democrats won the largest vote share by a narrow margin, followed by Angela Merkel’s CDU-led conservative bloc.

The Greens have 14.8 per cent of the total vote share and are set to be part of a three-way coalition administration if one can be formed in the coming days. This is a sharp rise from the 8.9 per cent the party received in 2017.

With a liberal agenda on the cards, the two politicians are pushing for policies that reflect inclusive governance.

Ms Ganserer seeks to prioritise an easier procedure to ratify a change of gender identity documents, and allow lesbian mothers to adopt children through changes in existing German laws.

Ms Slawik’s LGBT+ agenda includes a nationwide action plan against homophobia and transphobia, a self-determination law, and betterment of the federal anti-discrimination law.

Germany decriminalised homosexuality in 1969 and legalised same-sex marriage in 2017 but the country’s progressive stride has been marred by increasing hate crimes against the queer community. These crimes surged by at least 36 per cent last year, according to official data.

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