Know your rights

A brochure of the Law Clinic of University of Geneva, updated in September 2019, provides the main information about the rights of LGBT persons in Switzerland (only available in French). It tries to answer the main legal questions LGBT people have, but it does not replace the advice of a lawyer or the support of associations.

In 2020, the Swiss Criminal Code was strengthened and extended to cover protection against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation (entry into force on 1 July 2020).

Change of name and gender

An amendment to the Swiss Civil Code provides that transgender persons or persons with a variation in sexual development will be able to have their sex and first name changed quickly and simply in the civil register. A simple declaration to the civil status office will suffice for this purpose, without the need for prior medical examinations or other conditions. This change is expected to come into effect in the beginning of 2022.

Some Swiss universities have already simplified the procedure. At ETH Zurich and at University of Lausanne for example, students and employees can change their family name or salutation and first name within the university without an official name change and without a medical certificate.

At EPFL, discussions on a simplification of the existing procedures are ongoing.