The gender ban came into force in Bavaria today. From now on, the use of gender-sensitive gender language is expressly prohibited in schools, universities and authorities in the Free State. The General Rules of Procedure (AGO) for the authorities of the Free State of Bavaria now state: “Multi-gender spellings using internal word symbols such as gender star, colon, gender gap or media point are not permitted.”

The cabinet decided on the controversial regulation on March 19th, and last week, on Maundy Thursday, the state government published the change in the Law and Ordinance Gazette. The Council for German Spelling recently did not recommend the use of special characters inside words in a decision of December 15, 2023 and pointed out that these are interventions in word formation, grammar and orthography that can impair the comprehensibility of texts.

However, there was sharp criticism of the ban from the Greens, political university groups, trade unions, queer associations and the Federal Student Conference, among others.

Consequences are a case-by-case decision

According to the Bavarian Interior Ministry, the consequences faced by those who ignore the ban are a case-by-case decision. “Whether or when the threshold of disciplinary misconduct in the sense of a breach of official duty is exceeded in a specific individual case will have to be assessed in particular with regard to the frequency, extent and the respective context,” said a ministry spokeswoman upon request.

For example, it makes a difference whether it is an internal authority letter or a public letter and whether gender-sensitive language is used illegally once or several times.