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A victory for trans rights: historic ruling ends forced sterilisation

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that to require someone to go through sterilisation so they can have the gender legally recognised is a violation of human rights.

The court has legal jurisdiction over the Council of Europe. This means the 22 European countries that require sterilisation for a person to legally change their gender will now have to change their laws.

The ruling stemmed from three cases against France about the lack of self-determination of trans individuals. The success of the cases was possible because of the Human Rights Act.

Medicalising the process for legal gender recognition is both intrusive and demeaning.

The judgement was rooted in Article 8 of the Act - a right to a private life, and Article 14, which prohibits discrimination.

We welcome the decision. This marks a significant turning point for trans peoples’ rights.

However, we’re disappointed the court did not condemn medical examinations and mental health diagnoses.

Medicalising the process for legal gender recognition is both intrusive and demeaning.

Sadly, trans people in Britain are still forced to go through this practice to have their gender identity legally recognised.

The removal of this practice, along with many other calls, form part of Stonewall’s Trans Advisory Group new five-year plan for trans equality called A Vision For Change.

Our commitment to trans equality extends to our international work and we continue to work with local partners to protect trans rights.

This historic decision on sterilisation is a step in the right direction.

While the decision is only legally binding for states within Europe, it sends a strong message to the rest of the world that trans rights are human rights and this barbaric practice must end.

Further Information

Read 'Vision for Change: Acceptance without exception for trans people'