Fact Check: Germany Does NOT Slap 10,000-Euro Fines On People Who Deadname Transgender People


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Fact Check: Germany Does NOT Slap 10,000-Euro Fines On People Who Deadname Transgender People Wrong Offense

Has Germany made "deadnaming" -- calling transgender people by a name they no longer use -- an offense punishable by a fine of 10,000 euros ($10,830)? No, that's not true: Germany's so-called Self-Determination Act imposes no punishment for addressing transgender people by the wrong name or pronoun. The fine applies only to people who maliciously disclose information on a person's gender assigned at birth. Moreover, the Act had not yet become law at the time of writing.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on the TikTok account of Hungary's governing Fidesz party on January 27, 2024, under the title (translated from Hungarian to English by Lead Stories staff) "Máté Kocsis - Brussels has decided: Everyone can change their gender once a year." It shows Máté Kocsis, leader of Fidesz's parliamentary caucus, delivering a speech in which he says (as translated):

Wrongly addressing a German who has undergone a gender and name change gets you a 10,000-euro fine. So, I'd like to tell you that in 2024, you should avoid calling your old German buddies by telephone. We don't know if Carl has become Ursula since then, or vice-versa.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2024-02-23 at 5.59.37.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Fri Feb 23 04:59:37 2024 UTC)

Kocsis is referring to Germany's draft "Act on Self-Determination with regard to gender entry," which the government unveiled on August 23, 2023, according to an explanatory document on the website of the Federal Ministry for Families, Seniors, Women and Youth (archived here). The legislation "is intended to make it easier for trans, intersex and non-binary people to have their gender registration and first names changed," the document says (translated from German to English by Google Chrome).

The explainer specifically says the law will not impose any punishment for deadnaming transgender people (as translated):

There is no general ban on 'misgendering' or 'deadnaming' in the [Self-Determination Act]. Repeated or particularly intense behavior ('bullying') may already be covered by existing criminal provisions. In individual cases, the criminal offense of insult (Section 185 of the Criminal Code) and in individual cases the criminal offense of bodily harm (Section 223 of the Criminal Code) or stalking (Section 238 of the Criminal Code) can be met.

It appears Kocsis is confusing "deadnaming" with the Self-Determination Act's ban on "forced outing," an offense that will be punishable by a fine. The ministry's document says (as translated):

Previous gender entries should not be revealed or researched without the consent of the person concerned, unless special reasons of public interest require this or a legal interest is credibly demonstrated ... Violation of the disclosure ban is now punishable by a fine. The fine presupposes that the disclosure intentionally harms the person concerned.

Page 65 of a separate document on the ministry's website (archived here) states that this fine may amount to 10,000 euros.

The Self-Determination Act received its first reading in Germany's parliament on November 16, 2023, according to another post on the ministry's homepage (archived here). It had not yet become law at the time of writing.

Transgender rights are a hot-button political issue in Hungary, whose government accuses the European Union of trying to force it to accept new and unwanted standards. In an article posted on Fidesz's website on January 30, 2024 (archived here), Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said (as translated):

It is important for Europeans to understand that if member states disagree on issues such as ... gender, they will immediately experience an imperialist reaction from Brussels and subject them to a form of blackmail.


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