Double standard

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(The following text or part of it is quoted from the free Wikipedia:)

A double standard is the application of different sets of principles for similar situations.[1]

A double standard may take the form of an instance in which certain concepts (often, for example, a word, phrase, social norm, or rule) are perceived as acceptable to be applied by one group of people, but are considered unacceptable—taboo—when applied by another group. A double standard can therefore be described as a biased or morally unfair application of the principle that all are equal in their freedoms. Such double standards are seen as unjustified because they violate a basic maxim of modern legal jurisprudence: that all parties should stand equal before the law. Double standards also violate the principle of justice known as impartiality, which is based on the assumption that the same standards should be applied to all people, without regard to subjective bias or favoritism based on social class, rank, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, or other distinctions. A double standard violates this principle by holding different people accountable according to different standards.

Examples for double standards related to HGM

Bündnis 90/Die Grünen

GREENS parliamentary group

In 2020, the GREENS parliamentary group, led by MdB Sven Lehmann, introduced a draft law for a so-called Self-Determination Act[1] that is intended to strengthen the rights of intersex/transsexuals. Among other things, it is formulated in § 3 (ban on genital-altering surgical interventions): "Parents cannot consent to a genital-altering surgical intervention on the internal or external sexual characteristics of the child. [...]" The last sentence of this paragraph has it all: "§ 1631d BGB remains unaffected." This not only leaves the discriminatory and obviously unconstitutional circumcision law untouched, but also the protection of intersexual and transsexual people has led to an absurdity whose legal conflict can hardly be resolved in this way. How, for example, is genital mutilation in a boy to be assessed from a legal point of view if the person concerned later decides that the classification "male" did not correspond to their feelings? According to the German Circumcision Act, it might have happened legally, but not according to the GREENS' draft self-determination law.

A commenter on Sven Lehmann's Facebook page commented appropriately: "Especially intersexual and transsexual children are dependent on their foreskin, since this is urgently needed for later self-determined operations. [...] Whoever, like the Greens, sees gender as a freely selectable continuum, but at the same time completely binary and independent of the concrete one characteristics of the sexual organs that legalize genital mutilation makes itself completely implausible."[2]

Volker Beck

Beck 2010

The German Greens politician Volker Beck has been working for decades for the legal equality of homosexuals. In relation to the persecution and killing of homosexuals in other countries he spoke out clearly against the encroachments of religions in the rights of others from (while the ban on the killing of another human being in a state of law needs no constraint "in the name of religion"):

Die Tötung eines anderen Menschen im Namen der Religion ist im Rechts­staat ein Verbrechen. Religion rechtfertigt keine Übergriffe in die Rechte anderer.
Translation: "The killing of another human being in the name of religion is a crime in the state of law. Religion does not justify attacks on the rights of others."
– Volker Beck[3]

In the Circumcision Debate he still denies, however, that religions engage here in the rights of others and that children are at all bearers of human rights:

Die Religionsfreiheit rechtfertigt keine Eingriffe in die Rechte Dritter. Dies ist auch bei der Be­schneidung nicht der Fall.
Translation: "Freedom of religion does not justify interference with the rights of third parties. This is not the case with circumcision at all."
– Volker Beck[3]

Also in 2015, he recruited vehemently for the opening of marriage for all. On June 12, 2015, he stated on Facebook, little self-critical:

Wer gleiche Rechte verweigert, der verweigert auch gleiche Würde.
Translation: "They who deny equal rights, also deny equal dignity."
– Volker Beck[4]

In 2017, he still engages for the "Marriage For All". On his Twitter account, he emphasizes this claim with the sentence:

Alles andere als Gleichberechtigung ist Diskriminierung!
Translation: "Anything but equality is discrimination!"
– Volker Beck ([5]

Britta Haßelmann

Britta Haßelmann (2020)

On 10 December 2019, Britta Haßelmann, member of the Green Bundestag, posted a photo on Facebook to mark International Human Rights Day:

Today is Human Rights Day.
All human beings are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law without distinction.
– Britta Haßelmann (Facebook)[6]

This self-evident and commendable message is in strong contrast to her voting behavior on the German Circumcision Act of 2012-12-12, where she did not care about the right to protection under the law for underage boys in Germany. "Team Britta" responds to criticism of this double standard on Facebook by deleting corresponding comments.

Lamya Kaddor

Lamya Kaddor (2018)

The Islamic scholar and GREENS Bundestag candidate 2021 Lamya Kaddor wrote an article on T-Online in January 2021 on the debate about the explicit anchoring of children's rights in the German Basic Law, in which she wants to emphasize children's rights, but with her comments on male rights genital mutilation in children immediately reduces their commitment to children's rights to absurdity:

The rights of our children are in bad shape
It will be important to ensure that the construction of a playground does not automatically receive priority, that parents can continue to determine the development of their children and that freedom of religion is preserved. In the case of the latter, the ritual circumcision of boys in Judaism and Islam will again come into focus. Their opponents are already sharpening their feathers. However, since the practice, if it is carried out medically professionally and early enough, has no humiliating or even traumatizing moment, has always been part of two major world religions, does not entail any particular disadvantages and, above all, does not involve any significant counter-movement among those affected themselves, i.e among male Jews and Muslims, is challenged, its defenders will still have a good hand.
– Lamya Kaddor (T-Online)[7]

Claudia Roth

Claudia Roth (2014)

In the German Circumcision Debate 2012, the Green member of the Bundestag Claudia Roth took a very clear stance against the protection of boys from genital mutilation:

The judgment of the district court of Cologne on the ban on circumcision for boys is one-sided and unrealistic
Because it has an exclusionary effect on the long cultural and religious tradition of Jewish and Muslim life. The circumcision of boys involves a debate between the poles of religious freedom, the right to self-determination, cultural rites, medical indications and parental care. This debate can only be conducted with the religious communities and not against them by court order. If the question of circumcision, which is actually an irreversible intervention, were based solely on the will of the children, the entire system of parental care would have to be fundamentally reorganized. As a first step, consideration could be given to prescribing accompanying measures such as broad-based educational work or circumcisions to be performed only by physicians, in order to reduce possible negative consequences of circumcisions.
Claudia Roth (Facebook)[8]

As early as 2006, she and her party colleagues tabled a motion in the German Bundestag that was intended to "protect girls and women from genital mutilation."[9] All of the arguments in the motion at the time would also apply to give boys the same protection. Ms. Roth does not seem to see it that way to this day (2022).


Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger

Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger 2013

The former FDP Minister of Justice (1992-1996 and 2009-2013) was in charge of the German Circumcision Act. In a Deutschlandfunk report in May 2019, ignoring the double standard between her request and her actions in 2012, she demands:

The constitution must make it absolutely clear: "Children and young people are bearers of all fundamental rights from birth," says former Federal Minister of Justice Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger.
– Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (Deutschlandfunk)[10]

Central Council of Jews in Germany

In the Circumcision Debate 2012, the Central Council of Jews in Germany had vehemently demanded to create a law that allows the ritual circumcision of boys. In the context of discussions on headscarf bans and the language in god houses, the current President of the Central Council of the Jews said in 2017:

Wir sollten davon absehen, für einzelne Religionsgemeinschaften spezielle Gesetze zu schaffen. [Allerdings sollte angestrebt werden, dass in allen Gotteshäusern, seien es Moscheen, seien es Kirchen oder Synagogen, in der Landessprache gepredigt wird.]
Translation: "We should refrain from creating specific laws for individual religious communities. [However, it should be striven to be preached in the country language in all the god houses, be it mosques, churches or synagogues.]"
– Josef Schuster, President of the Central Council of the Jews in Germany (Interview in the journal "Welt am Sonntag", 2017-04-22)[11]

Waris Dirie

Waris Dirie

Waris Dirie (born 1965 in the region of Gaalkacyo, Somalya) is an Austrian model, author and human rights activist fighting against female genital mutilation (FGM). From 1997 to 2003, she served as a UN special ambassador against female genital cutting. In 2002 she founded her own organization in Vienna (Austria), the Desert Flower Foundation.[12]

She rates circumcision unlike female genital mutilation. Waris Dirie commented on the circumcision of her son as follows:

We had Aleeke circumcised in the hospital a day after he was born. This is very different from female genital mutilation; that should never even be called circumcision – it’s not. In males it’s done for medical reasons – to ensure cleanliness. I could hear Aleeke crying when they did it, but he stopped as soon as I held him. Despite my strong feelings about FGM, I knew it was the right thing to do. My son has a beautiful penis. It looks so good and so clean. (Quoted after: Chantal J. Zabus: Between Rites and Rights. Excision in Women’s Experiential Texts and Human Contexts, S. 197)[12]

Critics on HGM-related double standards

The German Greens politician and intactivist Ulf Dunkel has critized double standards of his party collegues and other organizations in this context with several publications:


  1. REFdocument Lehmann, Sven: GE-Selbstbestimmungsgesetz-1.pdf PDF, GREENS parliamentary group. (June 2020). Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  2. REFweb (4 June 2020). comment Luisemarie Keck, Facebook, Sven Lehmann. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  3. a b
  6. REFweb (10 December 2019). Heute ist der Tag der Menschenrechte [Today is Human Rights Day] (German). Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  7. REFweb Kaddor, Lamya (14 January 2021). Um die Rechte unserer Kinder ist es schlecht bestellt [The rights of our children are in bad shape] (German), T-Online. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  8. REFweb (28 June 2012). Das Urteil des Landgerichts Köln zum Beschneidungsverbot bei Jungen ist einseitig und realitätsfremd [The judgment of the district court of Cologne on the ban on circumcision in boys is one-sided and unrealistic] (German). Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  9. REFdocument Mädchen und Frauen vor Genitalverstümmelung schützen [Protect girls and women from genital mutilation] (German) PDF, Contribution: printed matter 16/3542, German Bundestag. (22 November 2006). Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  10. REFnews "Kinderrechte ins Grundgesetz, Eine Forderung von Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger".
  12. a b REFweb Waris Dirie, Wikipedia. Retrieved 1 September 2020.