Dismantling or Perpetuating Gender Stereotypes. – The Case of Trans Rights in the European Court of Human Rights’ Jurisprudence
Keywords:gender stereotypes, transgender, European Court of Human Rights, case-law, deregistration
The European Court of Human Rights (the Court) considers gender identity “a fundamental aspect of the right to respect for private life” (AP, Garçon & Nicot v France, 2017), and has taken important steps towards ensuring that this right is implemented in Council of Europe states. The Court has thus held that trans persons cannot be required to undergo “sterilisation surgery or treatment” to have their gender legally recognised by the State (AP, Garçon & Nicot v France). However, where such advancements have opened doors for many trans people to access legal gender recognition without undergoing unwanted or impossible surgeries, certain requirements remain. Where the gender identity of trans persons must be ‘verified’ by a third-party to enable legal gender recognition, this bears the risk of seeing stereotypical visions of gender enforced, devaluing the general aim of dismantling gender stereotypes for all. This paper will analyse gender stereotypes appearing in cases of the Court relating to trans persons, and explore alternatives to the current systems of legal gender recognition, which may aid in dismantling gender stereotypes for persons of all gender identities.
CAMMINGA, B. (2020), “One for one and one for all? Human rights and transgender access to legal gender recognition in Botswana”, International Journal of Gender, Sexuality and Law, vol. 1, pp. 241-267.
CANNOOT, P. (2019), “The pathologisation of trans* persons in the ECtHR’s case law on legal gender recognition”, Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 14-35.
CANNOOT, P. & Decoster, M. (2020), “The Abolition of Sex/Gender Registration in the Age of Gender Self- Determination: An Interdisciplinary, Queer, Feminist and Human Rights Analysis”, International Journal of Gender, Sexuality and Law, vol. 1, 26-55.
CATTO, M.-X. (2019), “Changer de sexe à l’état civil depuis la loi du 18 novembre 2016 de modernisation de la justice du XXIe siècle”, Cahiers Droit, Sciences et Technologies, vol. 9.
CATTO, M.-X. (2021), “Le critère de l’apparence physique dans les décisions de changement de sexe”, in M-X Catto & J Mazaleigue-Labaste (eds), La Bicatégorisation de sexe - Entre droit, normes sociales et sciences biomédicales, Mare et Martin, pp. 155-182.
COOK, R.J. & CUSACK, S. (2010), Gender Stereotyping - Transnational Legal Perspectives, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (2015), Issue Paper on ‘Human rights and intersex people’. Available at: https://rm.coe.int/16806da5d4 [Accessed: 29 November 2021]
EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS (2021), Factsheet – Gender Identity Issues. Available at: https://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/FS_Gender_identity_eng.pdf [Accessed: 28 November 2021]
EUROPEAN UNION AGENCY FOR FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS (FRA) (2014), Being Trans in the European Union: Comparative analysis of EU LGBT survey data, Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.
FAUSTO-STERLING, A. (2020), Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality, 2nd ed, New York: Basic Books.
HOLZER, L 2018, “Non-Binary Gender Registration Models in Europe - Report on third gender marker or no gender marker options”, ILGA-Europe. Available at: https://www.ilga-europe.org/sites/default/files/non-binary_gender_registration_models_in_europe_0.pdf [Accessed: 28 November 2021]
INTER-AMERICAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS (2017), Advisory Opinion OC-24/17, Gender identity, and equality and non-discrimination of same-sex couple. Available : http://www.corteidh.or.cr/docs/opiniones/seriea_24_eng.pdf [Accessed: 27 November 2021]
INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION OF JURISTS (ICJ) (2017), The Yogyakarta Principles Plus 10 – Additional Principles and State Obligation on the Application of International Human Rights Law in Relation to Sexual Orientation, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics to Complement the Yogyakarta Principles. Available at: https://yogyakartaprinciples.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/A5_yogyakartaWEB-2.pdf [Accessed: 27 November 2021]
MAK, G. 2012, Doubting Sex: Inscriptions, Bodies and Selves in Nineteenth-Century Hermaphrodite Case Histories, Manchester: Manchester University Press.
NEUMAN WIPFLER, A.J. (2016), “Identity Crisis: The Limitations of Expanding Government Recognition of Gender Identity and the Possibility of Genderless Identity Documents”, Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, vol. 39, pp. 491-555.
PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE (PACE) (2015), Resolution 2048, Discrimination against transgender people in Europe. Available at: http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/xref/xref-xml2html-en.asp?fileid=21736 [Accessed 28 November 2021]
QUINAN, C.L., MOLITOR, V., VAN DEN BRINK, M., & ZIMENKOVA, T. (2020), “Framing gender identity registration amidst national and international development: Introduction to ‘Bodies, identities and gender regimes: Human rights and legal aspects of gender identity registration”, International Journal of Gender, Sexuality and Law, vol. 1, pp. 1-25.
SCHAUER, F. (2003), Profiles Probabilities and Stereotypes, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
SPADE, D. (2003), “Resisting Medicine, Re/modeling Gender”, Berkeley Women’s Law Journal vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 15-39.
THEILEN, JT 2014, “Depathologisation of Transgenderism and International Human Rights Law”, Human Rights Law Review, vol. 14, pp. 327-342.
TIMMER, A. (2011), “Toward an Anti-Stereotyping Approach for the European Court of Human Rights”, Human Rights Law Review, vol. 11, nº 4, pp. 707-738.
TRANSGENDER EUROPE, TRANS NETWORK BALKAN, ILGA EUROPE, SUBVERSIVE FRONT (2017), “X v The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (App no 29683/16) Written comments”. Available at: https://www.ilga-europe.org/sites/default/files/2017-07-28_X%20v.%20Macedonia_TPI_FINAL.pdf [Accessed 29 November 2021]
UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY (1981), International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), 1249 UNTS 13. Available at: https://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/text/econvention.htm [Accessed: 27 November 2021]
UN OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (2013), Commissioned Report on ‘Gender stereotyping as a human rights violation’. Available at: https://www.esem.org.mk/pdf/Najznachajni%20vesti/2014/3/Cusack.pdf [Accessed: 28 November 2021]
VAN DEN BRINK, M & DUNNE, P. (2018), Trans and Intersex Equality Rights in Europe - A Comparative Analysis’, Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.
Constitutional Court of Belgium (19 June 2019) Case no. 99/2019 (6813) (Belgium).
CEDAW Committee (2012), RKB v Turkey, Communication No 28/2010, CEDAW/C/51/D/28/2010.
CEDAW Committee (2012), SVP v Bulgaria, Communication No 31/2011, CEDAW/C/53/D/31/2011.
European Court of Human Rights (1986), Rees v UK, Ap. No. 9532/81.
European Court of Human Rights (1990), Cossey v UK, Series A, No 184.
European Court of Human Rights (1992), B v France, Ap. No. 13343/87 (1992).
European Court of Human Rights (2002), Christine Goodwin v UK, Ap. No. 28957/95.
European Court of Human Rights (2004), Ünal Tekeli v Turkey, Ap. No. 29865/96.
European Court of Human Rights (2012), Konstantin Markin v Russia, Ap. No. 30078/06.
European Court of Human Rights (2014), Hämäläinen v Finland, Ap. No. 37359/09.
European Court of Human Rights (2015), YY v Turkey, Ap. No. 14793/08.
European Court of Human Rights (2017), AP, Garçon and Nicot v France, Ap. Nos. 79885/12, 52471/13 and 52596/13.
European Court of Human Rights (2017), Carvalho Pinto De Sousa Morais v Portugal, Ap. No. 17484/15.
European Court of Human Rights (2017), Khamtokhu and Aksenchik v Russia, Ap. Nos. 60367/08 and 961/11.
European Court of Human Rights (2019), X v the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ap. No. 29683/16.
European Court of Human Rights (2021), Jurčić v Croatia, Ap. No. 54711/15.
European Court of Human Rights (2021), X and Y v Romania, Ap. Nos. 2145/16 and 20607/16.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Caroline Hansen
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.