Strasbourg court: Forced sterilisation trans people violates human rights

Tuesday, 11th April 2017

Last week, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that requiring trans people to undergo sterilisation in order to have their gender recognised, violates human rights.

In the case A.P. and Others v. France, three transgender people attempted to change the entries on their sex and forenames on their birth certificates, and were refused so by the national courts, as they did not meet the infertility requirement.

The applicants held that the authorities had infringed their right to respect for their private life (Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights) by making gender recognition conditional on undergoing an operation involving a high probability of sterility.

Strasbourg judges declared that indeed the requirement to undergo sterilisation or treatment involving a very high probability of sterility, in order to change the entries on birth certificates, breaches the right to respect for private life.

Sirpa Pietikainen MEP, Vice-President of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, welcomed the judgment: “This decision is extremely valuable to end the abhorrent breach of human rights of transgender people.”

“The decision reflects a recognition that the right to physical integrity is an inalienable human right, which every person is entitled to.”

Nevertheless, the Court did not find proof that the a mental health diagnosis or obligatory medical examinations, constitute breaches of Article 8.

Daniele Viotti MEP, Co-President of the Intergroup, added: “While the ruling is a great move forward for transgender people in Europe, it is regrettable that the Court did not see obligatory medical examinations and mental health diagnoses as breaches of the Convention.”

“However, this should motivate the Parliament, the European Commission and Member States to double our efforts to end the stigmatising and unnecessary  diagnosis of ‘gender identity disorder’ and forced medical examination.”