UK transsexuals get the right to marry in new gender
December 4, 2003
LONDON — British transsexuals will be able to marry in their adoptive
gender under legal measures published Friday.
Transsexuals seeking legal recognition of their new gender will
have to provide evidence that they intend to live fully and
permanently in that gender, but they will not have to undergo sex
"In a civilized society individuals and groups must be able to
exercise the rights they are legitimately entitled to and be
allowed to live their lives free from discrimination," said
Department of Constitutional Affairs minister Lord Filkin.
Until now, Britain has been one of a handful of European nations
that refuse to let transsexual people officially change the gender
on their birth certificate. The European Court of Human Rights
ruled a year ago in favor of two transsexuals who claimed British
laws violated their rights to a private life and marriage of their
Britain's estimated 5,000 transsexuals may currently change
their gender on their passport, driving license and medical cards,
but cannot obtain a new birth certificate or marry in their new
Under the new measures, transsexuals will need to show they have
been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, a condition characterized by
intense feelings of being the wrong gender, in order to obtain
substitute birth certificates. They will also have to show that
they have lived in the acquired gender for at least two years and
that they intend to continue to live in the acquired gender.
In a concession to concerns in the church about the sexuality
reforms, the bill gives priests the legal right to refuse to carry
out a marriage ceremony if the bride or groom is a transsexual.
Transsexuals will also retain the rights and responsibilities of
their old gender, including parenting and inheritance rights. –Sapa-AP
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