Previously, if transgender people in France wanted to legally change their gender, they had to undergo obligatory sterilisation. Now, legislation has been passed to abolish that rule.
According to Transgender Europe, historically the argument was made that this step was necessary to prove that transgender people hoping to transition were serious about it. France are far from the only country to have this rule, as data released back in 2013 showed that Norway, Finland, Russia, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium and Switzerland also had obligatory sterilisation.
Naturally, this has been celebrated pretty much across the board by LGBT activists, and is a great step towards a more progressive and accepting France. France now joins countries such as Denmark, Malta and Ireland, where you can legally change your gender without medical or state intervention.
Here in Britain, and also Spain and Germany, transgender people are still required to have psychiatric diagnosis of gender dysphoria or transsexualism to legally change their gender.
ILGA spokesperson Sophie Aujean spoke on the change for France, saying: “There is no other population in the world that is asked to be sterilised apart from transgender. These are years of sparring that finally come to fruition.”
However, despite this law being a positive step, it’s not without it’s critics. Some have criticised it as “not a revolutionary law”.
Stéphanie Nicot, president of la Fédération LGBT said to Le Figaro: “This law will resolve nothing while we still refuse to medicate and legislate transitions. We demand that this [issue] no longer goes through the courts; we are not criminals and judges have more important things to deal with.”
While this law doesn’t fix all the issues for trans people in France, it is a great step forward. We only hope it continues on from there.