What defines gender identity

Gender identity

Laura Adamietz

To person

Dr. iur., born 1978; Research Associate, Center for European Legal Policy, University of Bremen, Universitätsallee, 28353 Bremen. [email protected]

All people have a "gender identity", but this is only discussed if it deviates from the norm. Two major gender identity issues challenge the legal system: transgender and intersex.


The law has always been a place where gender issues are negotiated, and democratically established law always moves in the area of ​​tension between the majority principle and the protection of minorities. It is not impossible to convince a majority of the interests of a minority that are worth protecting. But it is always a challenge, and this is especially true when it comes to gender issues. The historically and currently relevant social order category "gender" has - comparable to skin color - the property of being invisible, especially when it is unproblematic, that is, corresponds to the notion of the socially (and legally) established "normal subject". "Gender" is due to this dynamic as well gender regularly equated with the "question of women". And "gender identity" is also a characteristic that all people have, but which is only discussed if it deviates from the norm and thus becomes a challenge for the legal system.