France introduces simplified gender recognition process for trans people

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France has approved new gender recognition rules for trans people that separate the legal recognition process from medical treatment.

The French parliament this week voted to introduce a new legal gender recognition mechanism that makes it easier for trans people to gain recognition as their legal gender.

The provisions passed through the National Assembly as part of a justice law (La loi sur la justice au XX1eme siècle), which included provisions relating to legal gender recognition.

Under the updated process, trans people will no longer have to be sterilised before being legally recognised in their true gender.

In addition to this, there will be no requirement to provide proof of medical treatment, as had been proposed in amendments introduced by the Senate several weeks ago. Emancipated minors will also be able to access the updated process.

Evelyne Paradis of ILGA-Europe said: “Congratulations to all the trans community in France and the activist movement that has pushed for this profound change!

“This is a sign of clear progress – another European country has dispensed with the shameful practice of sterilisation and the intrusion that accompanied medicalisation.”

However, the law falls short of campaigners’ hopes on a number of issues, lacking access to gender recognition for young transgender people, and not permitting people to  self-determine their gender. This means that trans people will still have to go to court to have their gender legally recognised.

Evelyne Paradis continued: “In Europe, there are several model examples that were open to France to follow – Denmark, Malta, Ireland and, most recently, Norway have all chosen to respect the bodily integrity of trans people and opt for self-determination.

“The fact that France did not take the more progressive and humane path open to it is very regretful. The fight will go on for full equality and respect for trans people in France.”

Sophie Aujean, ILGA-Europe’s Senior Policy and Programmes Officer, also reflected on the new law: “Ruben, one of the trans people who shared their testimony as part of a video campaign before the vote, put it perfectly: ‘…An ideal world, as far as I am concerned, would be a world where we would stop judging each other; where we would let people live their lives in the way they have chosen…’

Des droits pour les trans en France (English subtitles) from ILGA-Europe on Vimeo.

“While the law finalised today is not 100% perfect, it is a purposeful step towards the ideal world that Ruben spoke of.”

France has made progress on LGBT equality in recent years, passing equal marriage in 2013 in the face of mass protests.

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