Human rights integration in action : making equality law work for trans people in Belgium

jeudi 12 octobre 2017 par Isabelle Rorive

Gender recognition procedures are the bedrock of anti-discrimination measures. Giving legal recognition to a trans person’s gender identity is a first and necessary step towards equality and dignity. However, even in countries where a change of gender in identity documents is allowed, it often remains subject to disturbing legal requirements such as psychiatrisation, compulsory surgery and sterilisation. This was the case in Belgium. Our paper reflects the legal battle pursued in Belgium to fight the worrying conditions attached to legally changing one’s gender. Yet, the Belgian legal situation is far from isolated, and this case study could be expanded to other jurisdictions. The strategies which were developed to successfully challenge the Belgian law were embedded in the Human Rights Integration project. The Belgian law of 25 June 2017, which drastically revises legal gender recognition procedures, is the result of a participatory process in which many stakeholders were involved. Trans people were at the core of the reform along with representatives of LGBT organisations, grassroots movements and academics linked to the Equality Law Clinic (ELC).


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Centre Perelman de Philosophie du Droit de l’Université libre de Bruxelles
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