For many decades, homosexual acts were criminalised by German law. In the 20th century, the persecution of LGBTIQ people was largely based on section 175 of the German Criminal Code. From the 1970s onwards, this section wasn’t applied anymore. It was finally abolished in 1994. Since then, Germany has granted more rights to LGBTIQ people. Because they are often exposed to discrimination, harassment and violence, they receive special protection under the anti-discrimination law (“Antidiskriminierungsgesetz”). This law guarantees equal rights to all residents of Germany regardless of their sexual orientation. It also protects people from discrimination based on race, ethnic origin, gender, disability, religion, belief or philosophy of life, or age. The anti-discrimination law applies to all parts of life, e.g. the work place, public services and even the military.
What rights does the LGBTIQ community have in Germany?
In Germany, sexual orientation and gender identity are largely private matters. The state has to respect and protect your individual choices. This means that homosexual acts between consenting adults are not criminalised. In order to protect the health and safety of its LGBTIQ residents, Germany has passed a number of laws.
Since 1 October 2017, same-sex couples in Germany can also marry. Before that day, they could only register their union as "civil partnership", which did not grant them the same rights as heterosexual married couples.
LGBTIQ is an abbreviation that refers to people whose sexual or gender identity is non-traditional. L means Lesbian (women who love women), G means Gay (men who love men), B means Bisexual (people who love both men and women), T means Transgender (people who have a gender identity or gender expression that differs from their assigned sex), I means Intersex (people who were born with bodies that don’t fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies), and Q means Queer (any person with a non-traditional sexual or gender identity).
It is possible to apply for asylum in Germany based on your sexual orientation or gender identity. If you face problems during your asylum process or in your camp, you can seek help from LGBTIQ support groups.
LGBTIQ Rights and Support
Homosexuality and the Law
Marriage and Civil Rights
Transgender and Intersex Rights
LGBTIQ Asylum Seekers
If you are LGBTIQ and need special protection, you have to declare your orientation or identity during the asylum process. Before you do so, you should contact an NGO which offers specific support for LGBTIQ refugees. If you face discrimination or harassment, you should contact the local anti-discrimination agency (“Antidiskriminierungsstelle”). Please note that camp administrations, housing services and the social welfare office are mostly unhelpful in these situations.