Farewell to the binary sex_gender system

non-binary, inter*, trans*

The Gender/Queer e.V. association is committed to overcoming the binary sex_gender order, as its norms and constraints contribute to discrimination and promote social hierarchies. Socially, the existence of people who cannot be – or do not want to be – categorised according to a scheme of two options, either male or female, is still ignored or disregarded. The normality of the sex_gender binary thus entails a form of violence that is exercised by medicine, the legal system, education and the media. It is socially desirable that individuals conform to the two-gender norm. If someone falls outside this norm, the consequence is discipline, punishment, discrimination or even social exclusion.

The term sex_gender is used to signify an integral simultaneityrather than a distinction between its two elements: There is no social subjectivity, which is notalways also embodied, and there is no embodiment, which does not carry socio-historical, epistemic,discursive and biographical traces.

Medical grievances - depathologise sex_gender

One area in which this deplorable state of affairs is particularly evident is medicine. All people, whether non-binary or cis, hetero or homo, are subjected to medical gender and sexuality norms. But trans*, inter* and non-binary people experience the full force and violence of these norms. Inter* people are born with physical characteristics that cannot be medically assigned to one of the two predominant genders. Normative medical interventions are supposed to enable binary gender assignment. Despite such surgery being banned in Germany since 2021, inter* children continue to be subjected to surgeries and medical treatments that permanently alter their bodies in order to fulfil the binary gender norm, without having a say in what happens to their own bodies. Like inter* and trans* people, non_binary people are bypassed by a two-gender society that only recognises men and women. The gender self-understanding of non-binary people resists the either/or of the binary; it can be fluid, elude gender stereotypes, multiply or ambiguate gender. Trans*gender identities, historically referred to as transsexuality, continue to be subject to pathologisation and will still be regulated by the outdated so-called Transsexuality Act in 2022. For trans*gender or transsexual people, the sex assigned at birth does not match their gender identity and/or their own experience of their bodies. However, hormones or surgeries that allow them to live in a way that matches their identity and experiences are only available if a treatment recommendation is made with a psychiatric opinion, and only after 12 to 18 months of psychotherapy. In 2023, the legal situation will still make it difficult for trans* people to access hormones and medical measures to adapt their bodies. For trans*, inter* and non_binary people, self-determined and non-pathologising medical care that addresses their specific needs is essential. While they may not all have the same concerns regarding law and medicine, the demands for self-determination and de- pathologisation represent common ground. For some, this means refusing coercive measures, for others, fighting for access to treatment. In order to escape the pressures of the sex_gender binary and the violence that comes with it, trans, inter* and non_binary people require more support from law and medicine.

non-binary activism

Trans*, inter* and non_binary people act together under the acronym TIN to fight against the constraints of the binary gender order. The asterisk* signals that this is not meant to create a new pigeonhole, but rather open categories and political identities. Within Gender/Queer e.V., however, there is also a discussion about whether gender categories are needed at all. Whether a sex_gender-free society is conceivable or desirable? And what would be gained if gender were abolished, at least as a category of legal regulation? What can state action look like that fights discrimination based on gender and sexuality, but at the same time avoids gender attributions? What can be done on the part of the state, educational institutions, medicine and the law to enable people to break free from restrictive gender expectations and to recognise and live gender diversity?
Activism under the heading "non-binary" thus reaches further than the struggle for gender and sexual self-determination. The focus is not on gender identities but on social relations and resistance against a heteronormative, patriarchal two-gender order. The utopia of a farewell to bisexuality is linked to the possibility of breaking free from the norms and constraints of the order set in motion at birth and internalised and embodied in the course of life. However, opportunities also arise to actively reshape social conditions. The abolition of the TSG and the implementation of gender and sexual human rights would be decisive milestones in this process.

Our concrete demands are:

Equality of all genders - without declaring the diversity of genders to be natural.

The abolition of the TSG and the adoption of a self-determination law that renounces categorisation, consistently implements the depathologisation of gender and sexuality and establishes a state-financed, needs-oriented medicine.

The abolition of the state-forced gender entry in the civil registry.

The continuation and revision of state anti-discrimination measures for the equality of all genders.

The compensation of bodily harm by previous laws regardless of the change of civil status.

The public recognition, reappraisal and apology to the victims. As well as effective sanctioning and prosecution.

A law that does not use the term "variants of gender development" and thus offers less room for interpretation for medical professionals in order to prevent circumvention and non-medically necessary norm-adjusting treatments.

A central register of medical files and comprehensive reporting obligations, which are kept beyond the statute of limitations until the 48th year of the patient's life, with which information on past treatments is made more easily accessible to those affected.

Compulsory counselling by a qualified peer counsellor (counsellor with the same characteristics or in the same life situation).

Equality - non-binary and intersectional

Discussion round on the occasion of the farewell to the GenderKompetenzZentrum, January 2021

Personal status: diverse - thinking equality further

Symposium of the Equality Team of the FernUniversität Hagen, June 2019


Engel, Antke Antek: Queering Gender Equality: UN SDG 5 beyond the sex_gender binary, in: Binswanger, Christa / Zimmermann, Andrea (ed.)(2021): Transitioning to Gender Equality, Basel: MDPI books: 139-157.


Open access full book: https://www.mdpi.com/books/pdfview/edition/1296