Trans woman wins right to backdated pension

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A trans woman who refused to divorce her wife has won the right to get her pension backdated.

Christine Timbrell, 69, transitioned in 2000 but is not legally recognised as a woman because she will not divorce her wife of 43 years, Joy.

Under the Gender Recognition Act 2004, trans people must dissolve or annul their marriages to be recognised in their new gender.

She took the Department of Work and Pensions to court because it refused to backdate her pension to the age of 60.

Currently, the retirement age is 60 for women and 65 for men, although the retirement age for women is gradually being brought up to 65.

Lord Justice Aikens, giving the ruling of the three judges at the Appeal Court, said there was a total lack of legal framework in English law to recognise gender change and that barring Ms Timbrell from her pension was discrimination.

He ruled that the Department for Work and Pensions must give her the backdated money from the age of 60, Press Association reports.

Mrs Timbrell’s lawyer Marie-Eleni Demetriou argued that forcing her to end her happy marriage would violate her human rights in respect of her home and family life.

Jeremy Johnson, acting for the DWP, said Mrs Timbrell had applied to legally change her gender and that women born female are not legally allowed to marry another woman.

Speaking in March, Mrs Timbrell said: “We were married by a bishop almost 43 years ago and we are regular churchgoers.

“The Department of Work and Pensions say the remedy is for us to divorce and go into a civil partnership, but we say that’s not the same.

“We are not gay and it would be hypocritical to pretend that we are. That is what we would be doing by entering into a civil partnership.”