A historical Greek judgment for sex change without surgery
Published on: 06/07/2016

The County Court of Athens acknowledged that the right to the change of sex to civil status data and full names does not require surgical removal of reproductive organs. The decision has become final, ie it can no longer be challenged by ordinary appeal to a higher or to the Supreme Court.

The applicant, a trans man (sex attributed at birth: female), by invoking similar (but not ad hoc) case law of the European Court of Human Rights and articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, asked the registry to be ordered to change his gender and his name (from female to male), without having performed surgical removal of his female reproductive organs.

The same court had previously rejected such requests on the ground of lack of a legal basis and had recognized the surgery as a prerequisite term, although this is not mentioned in the law. In this case, for the first time in Greece, the County Court recognized that genital surgery is not necessary and, if considered necessary, would violate the human rights of the requesting person. In essence, the Court gives a completely different meaning to the concept of “sex change”, as mentioned in the Law 344/1976, harmonizing thus that – outdated - legal term to the modern conception of “gender identity” and to the strongly self-evidential and self-actualizational elements included in that term.

The court decision states that: "...the compulsory sterilization, sex change surgery to remove genital organs from female to male, and vice versa, as a precondition for the recognition of a reassignment to transgendered people, as the applicant, seems to be an extreme request and practice that violates Article 8 ECHR (European Convention on Human Rights), according to which "everyone has the right to respect for private and family life, his house and his communications. Also, the above obligations conflict with the right to equality and non-discrimination in Articles 2 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)”.

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