Swiss Parliament passes Historic Legal Gender Recognition Bill

Victory in Switzerland
Swiss trans people will no longer be required to be surgically sterilized to legally change gender markers.
Victory in Switzerland
Victory in Switzerland

On 18 December 2020, the Swiss Parliament passed a bill for legal gender recognition (LGR) procedures based on self-determination reports Transgender Europe (TGEU). Opponents of the law have four months to gather 50,000 signatures on a petition to force a referendum.

If there is no referendum or if trans people win the referendum, the Federal Council will decide when the new procedure will apply.

February 2020 Swiss Advanced Gay protections that left Trans People Behind: “A punch in the Stomach”.

Transgender Network Switzerland (TGNS) noted that this a huge change from ten years ago when they formed. Swiss trans people were at times required to undergo sterilization before beginning a lengthy and costly application process.

The new process is quick and relatively inexpensive:

  • Instead of sending a written request to the court, you go to the registry office in person (Swiss abroad go to their embassy). There they simply explain that the official gender should be changed because it does not match the gender identity.
  • The registry office will register the change immediately. So it’s much faster than before with the court.
  • The only requirement is that you know your own gender identity. So there is no longer any need for confirmation from a psychologist or psychiatrist. And certainly no medical evidence.
  • Instead of several hundred francs, the change is expected to cost only CHF 75.00.
  • The first name can be changed together with the gender entry.
  • The first name can be changed together with the gender entry.
    The change is only possible from “M” to “F” or from “F” to “M”.


People 16 or younger or people who are under comprehensive assistance will need the consent of their parents or advisor.

TGEU Executive Director, Masen Davis, said in a statement:

“Especially given the backlash against trans people’s human rights in 2020, we are happy to see this law pass before the end of the year. Some countries have shown major step-backs in legal gender recognition, such as Hungary or Russia. It offers our communities some hope to see the Swiss example.”

With the new law, Switzerland will meet the criteria for “quick, transparent, and accessible procedures based on self-determination,” in line with regional and international human rights standards. Following Denmark, Norway, Malta, Luxembourg, Ireland, Iceland, and Portugal, Switzerland has now pledged to be the 8th country in Europe and Central Asia with a self-determination based model in place.

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Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender