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Hostility Towards the LGBT Community
Unlike discrimination on the basis of race or sex, discrimination due to sexual orientation or gender expression is not officially outlawed in the German constitution since gay rights were not on the agenda when the German Constitution was written in 1948/49. Neither are hate crimes against the LGBT community an official category in police reports. Verbal slurs (even odd looks and dismissive behavior) are far more likely to affect you than outright harassment or violence. Especially in smaller towns or rural areas, public displays of affection between homosexual couples are often frowned upon.
The Legal Situation
Despite the lack of a constitutional framework for LGBT rights, Germany has received 54% in the Europe Rainbow Map as published by the International Gay and Lesbian Association. Both male/male and female/female relationships are legal in Germany, the age of consent is the same as for heterosexual relationships, and it is possible for same-sex partners to enter into a formal civil union. The latter is, however, not entirely equal to a “traditional” marriage, and the couple will not have any rights to adopt children together.
The situation for transgender and intersex people in Germany is far more complicated. There aren’t any reliable statistics on their numbers, and estimates are varying wildly from 6,000 to 70,000. So far, there is only one law explicitly dealing with transgender people in Germany, the Transsexuellengesetz from 1980. Under certain (very narrowly defined) conditions, it gives you the right to undergo a legal name change and to carry a so-called “Ergänzungsausweis” (complementary ID card) until this procedure is completed. But this name change doesn’t affect the discriminatory regulations with regard to marriage, having children, or even having your gender identity acknowledged in a German hospital or prison.
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