Nuremberg (dpa) – «If you want Tessa, you have to vote for Ganserer» is written in thick white letters on the green election posters.
On the poster is a woman with long blonde hair, casually pushed behind her ear on one side. She smiles cheerfully into the camera.
Nevertheless, the Nuremberg candidate for the Bundestag, Tessa Ganserer, is anything but happy about the posters. They are only a stopgap measure.
Because Ganserer is on the ballot paper with a different first name – a male first name that the 44-year-old discarded almost three years ago and with which she does not identify. «This is very painful and humiliating for me,» she says.
Ganserer has been sitting in the Bavarian parliament for the Greens since 2013. For the first few years, she attended under her previous male name.
In November 2018, Ganserer then became the first politician in a German parliament to come out as transgender.
From then on, she has appeared publicly as Tessa Ganserer.
Since then, Ganserer has been fighting for legal equality and social acceptance of transgender people in the Bavarian state parliament as a queer policy spokesperson – a fight that she now wants to continue in the Bundestag «in the hope of being able to make a difference so that others will have it easier after me.»
Like many other people in her situation, Ganserer refuses to change her first name and gender officially under the Transsexuals Act.
The 40-year-old law stipulates that people are only allowed to do so after a psychological assessment and a court decision – in which they often have to answer very intimate questions.
Therefore, Ganserer’s identity card still shows her former first name.
In everyday life, this means that she has to explain and re-explain her name and identity and justify herself, for example, when taking a coronavirus test, when she wants to pick up a rental car or when her ticket is checked on a train.
The German Society for Transidentity and Intersexuality estimates the percentage of transgender people in Germany at 0.3 to 0.6 per cent.
There has only been one trans person in the Bundestag so far, but she only came out after her term in office.
«The 2021 Bundestag elections are a historic moment in this respect,» says Gabriel_Nox Koenig from the Federal Trans Association.
Openly trans people are represented on the electoral lists for the first time, Koening says: Tessa Ganserer, her party colleagues Victoria Brossart and Nyke Slawik as well as the Social Democrat politician Ria Cybill Geyer are all breaking new ground.
Ganserer and Slawik are seen as most likely of this group to enter the Bundestag.
Climate change, but also her personal history, persuaded 27-year-old Nyke Slawik from Leverkusen to stand for the Greens in the Bundestag elections.
«After my transition, I went through many experiences that I found discriminatory,» she writes in an email. «Like the degrading, lengthy and expensive process of changing my name.»
In addition, she says, she herself grew up without role models because transgender people have not been present in politics until now.
«I want to change that,» says Slawik, adding, «I hope that it will be more difficult to discriminate against us as a gender minority when we finally have a seat at the table.»
As recently as May, the Greens and the FDP made an attempt in the Bundestag to abolish the Transsexual Act and replace it with a law for gender self-determination.
However, the two bills failed: the government and the far-right AfD voted against them.
By Irena Guettel, dpa