LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

It’s official – France adopts a new legal gender recognition procedure!

The French parliament has voted to introduce a legal gender recognition procedure that is free from sterilisation and medicalisation.

The National Assembly met in a plenary session on Wednesday 12 October to debate and vote on the 21st century 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 procedure.

“Congratulations to all the trans community in France and the activist movement that has pushed for this profound change!” said Evelyne Paradis, ILGA-Europe Executive Director. “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 revised law does fall short on several elements that trans activists had campaigned hard for – such as a lack of access to legal gender recognition for all trans minors and the fact that the procedure is not based on self-determination. This means that trans people will still have to go to court to have their gender legally recognised. 

“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.” continued Evelyne Paradis.

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