Germany has made history by electing two trans women to the Bundestag, the country’s Federal Parliament.
Tessa Ganserer (44) and Nyke Slawik (27) will become the first openly trans MPs to hold seats in the Bundestag. Both candidates represent the Greens party, which won 14.8% of the vote. Slawik and Granserer were among the four trans MPs who contested the elections this year.
The election saw outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party narrowly lose to the Social Democratic Party. According to preliminary results, the SDP and its chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz won 25.7 per cent of the vote, which means that for the first time in 16 years, the centre-left party will lead Germany.
Despite announcing she will step down as leader of the Christian Democratic Union, Merkel will remain the country’s Chancellor till a new leader is elected.
Slawik told Reuters that “at a time when people still make fun of us, when some trans people still face (bullying) or lose their jobs, this is historic.”
Newly elected chancellor Scholz said that his party is looking forward to working alongside other progressive parties, like the Greens to form a “good, pragmatic government for Germany”.
Both Ganserer and Slawik are expected to play pivotal roles in the newly formed government.
Ich bedanke mich von ganzem Herzen für das Vertrauen der Wähler*innen. Ich bin noch ganz überwältigt, freue mich aber riesig auf meine neue Aufgabe in Berlin! Meinen Glückwunsch auch an @nyke_slawik!#QueereRepräsentanzMatters pic.twitter.com/1HOb2x3Nt4
— Tessa Ganserer (@GansGruen) September 27, 2021
LGBTQI+ Law Reforms On The Agenda
“It is a historic victory for the Greens, but also for the trans-emancipatory movement and for the entire queer community,” Ganserer said in an interview with Reuters.
The 44-year-old MP is no stranger to making history as she became the first openly trans person to sit in a regional or national parliament in Germany.
Although Ganserer identifies as a woman, her deadname appeared on this year’s ballot as the Greens MP had refused to legally change her name and gender identity due to the convoluted procedure trans people have to go through to do this under the 1980 Transsexual Act.
Making it easier to ratify a sex change on identity documents will be a top priority for Ganserer during her time in office.
Slawik, 27, has said on her campaign website that she plans to introduce a “nationwide action plan against homophobia and trans-hostility.”
The North Rhine-Westphalia representative also wants to introduce a comprehensive plan to combat climate change, a strategy against racism and lower the voting age from 18 to 16.
In her speech at the party congress, Slawik said she wanted to give young people a voice in the next Bundestag and the fight against the climate crisis.
At this year’s elections, the Greens alongside the Free Democratic Party (FDP) attracted the most support from the under-30s.