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Transgender woman appeals to Tbilisi Court to recognise her gender

13 October 2017

A Georgian transgender woman is appealing to Tbilisi City Court to have her gender changed in official documents without undergoing sex reassignment surgery.

Nino Bolkvadze from Tbilisi-based rights group the Equality Movement, who is representing the plaintiff, told Liberali Magazine the suit is based on judgements by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) as well as Georgia’s Constitutional Court.

Three transgender people from Georgia have recently appealed in court on similar grounds. The claims of two transgender people were rejected by all three instances of the judiciary, and have been filed to the ECHR. An appeal by a third transgender person is being examined by the Tbilisi Court of Appeals.

In previous judgements, Georgian courts have ruled that someone’s gender can be changed in official documents only if their reassigned biological sex fully corresponds to their gender, Bolkvadze says. She calls this ‘absurd, as long as it is impossible to have such surgery that will transform a [person’s] biological sex completely’.

On 6 April the ECHR ruled that officially changing one's gender could not be made conditional on undergoing sex reassignment surgery.

The case, Garçon and Nicot v. France, concerned three French transgender people who had been prevented from changing their sex and forenames on their birth certificates.

The three argued, among other things, that authorities had infringed on their right to respect for private life by making recognition of their gender identity conditional on undergoing an operation which would most likely make them sterile.


‘The Court held, in particular, that making recognition of the sexual identity of transgender persons conditional on undergoing an operation or sterilising treatment to which they did not wish to submit amounted to making the full exercise of one’s right to respect for private life conditional on relinquishing full exercise of the right to respect for one’s physical integrity’, a press release by the ECHR says.

On 10 October Greece’s government passed legislation enabling citizens to determine their own gender identity, amid fierce condemnation from the Greek Orthodox Church and accusations the law would ‘destroy human beings’, the Guardian reported.

‘After two days of highly charged debate, the prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, rallied parliament to endorse policies that would permit people to legally change their gender on all official documents without undergoing sterilisation’, the Guardian writes.