The politician, who grew up in the GDR, the former East Germany, told the Berliner Morgenpost, “I always felt like a man. I was born in the wrong body.” Luckily gender specific toys were less important in GDR than elsewhere and Schenk's unease with his former gender waited until adolescence to appear.
Schenk's obstacles to marriage are bureaucratic, as this is the first case of a legally recognized homosexual pair seeking a marriage due to a surgical sex change. Schenk and his partner dissolved their partnership in order to replace it with a marriage. German law, however, requires the observance of a one year separation period. The marriage cannot take place until the partnership is completely dissolved. According to paragraph 1306 in the civil law book, a marriage cannot take place if one of the people marrying is in a marriage or partnership with a third person.