Georgia’s denial of legal gender recognition to trans man to be challenged before European Court

1st August 2017: A Georgian trans man, Mr D, has lodged an application before the European Court of Human Rights, challenging Georgia’s refusal to change the gender marker in his official documents. Mr D is represented by SRT grantees the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC) and the Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group (WISG).

Mr D’s application to change the gender marker in his official records was refused by the Georgian authorities, who argue that he must undergo gender reassignment surgery before being allowed to do so (such surgery is not provided by the state healthcare system). Without documents reflecting his acquired gender, Mr D is subjected to humiliating treatment and verbal abuse whenever he has to show his identity documents, and is unable to obtain a permanent job or effectively participate in the upbringing of his children.

The Court recently ruled in a French case that the requirement to undergo gender re-assignment surgery for legal gender recognition is in breach of the right to respect for private and family life (Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights). Mr D similarly argues a breach of his right to respect for his private and family life, in that he should not be required to undergo such a surgery.

Ramute Remezaite and Joanne Sawyer of EHRAC said, ‘Georgian law fails to clearly regulate the manner in which trans people can obtain legal gender recognition, with inconsistent and arbitrary consequences, as in Mr D’s case. We hope that by litigating this case before the European Court, the position for trans people seeking legal recognition in Georgia will be clearer and simpler in the future.’

Keti Bakhtadze of WISG said, ‘Stigma, unemployment and poverty present further obstacles for trans people in accessing the tools they need to seek legal gender recognition, creating a vicious circle, which is extremely difficult to overcome.’

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