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Friday, October 21, 2016

French Law Removes the Surgical Requirement for Legal Gender Recognition

French Law Removes the Surgical Requirement for Legal Gender Recognition

Last week the French National Assembly passed legislation removing the surgical requirement for people who want to change their gender on official documents. This legislative change reflects a growing understanding among lawmakers that every person’s gender transition is different and gender marker changes should not require private medical information.

The new legislation brings France one step closer to embodying Resolution No. 2048 on Discrimination Against Transgender People, passed in 2015 by the Parliament Assembly of the Council of Europe. The Assembly expressed concern about the right to privacy and to physical autonomy of individuals that go through legal gender recognition procedures, and called upon member states to address discrimination against transgender people. The Assembly covered various aspects of anti-discrimination legislation and policy, including legal gender recognition, gender reassignment treatment and health care, and information, awareness raising and training.

While France’s legislation was a step in the right direction, many advocates argue that the law did not go far enough, as it still requires people to go to court to change their legal gender. Other countries, such as Malta, Argentina and Canada have more evolved gender change policies. In 2015 Malta became the first country among the European Union member states to specify the right to change gender markers by self-declaration In 2012 Argentina passed a law ensuring that all people can request that their recorded sex be amended whenever they do not agree with the perceived gender identity. The same year New Zealand implemented a passport policy allowing applicants to self-declare their gender (M, F, or X).

NCTE congratulates France on this step forward, and will continue to advocate for dropping medical standards and easing gender marker change requirements on state and federal IDs here in the US. For more information about current state and federal policies on ID documents, see NCTE’s ID Documents Center.

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