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© 2022, Queer geography, z.s.
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for full version of this verdict, see the original artcile at Transgender Europe

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) yesterday set a groundbreaking ruling that the sterilization requirement in the process of legal recognition of the gender identity (and gender) is contrary to human rights. This European legal precedent has thus become the basis for a change in the rule of law in the remaining 22 European countries, where state of sterility of the applicant is still a prerequisite for recognition of gender identity (“reassignment”).

This groundbreaking verdict is the result of three cases that merged against France with the intention of reversing the current inadequate right to self-determination of transsexual people in France, or in Europe. A.P., E. Gaçon and S. Nicot, on the plaintiff’s part, build on Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights concerning the right to respect for private and family life.

In words of Julie Ehrt, the director of the Transgender Europe activist organization, the yesterday’s verdict is:

a victory for trans and human rights in Europe as such. This decision ends the dark chapter of state-imposed sterilization in Europe. The remaining 22 countries, where sterilization is still a mandatory condition for gender change, will have to end these practices. We are happy to provide assistance to those who want to change their local government legislation.

The three-party plaintiff claimed for almost one decade their right for recognition of their gender identity by France. Until October last year (2016), a person who wished their gender identity to be legally recognized, had to prove sterility, had to prove genital surgery and the results of a series of lengthy and discriminatory examinations.

The ECHR thus concluded that requiring evidence of “undergoin a sterilization operation or other medical treatment resulting in a very high probability of infertility is equal to a breach of the right to respect for the personal life of the applicant”. That is why individual states can not demand any medical treatment that would most likely lead to infertility (sterility) for persons seeking recognition of gender identity.

Red color on the map show those countries that still required sterilization as a prerequisite for recognizing gender identity during the last year.


The entire judgment in French is available here.

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