The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) upheld the lawsuit of three transgender men against Georgia and found a violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (right to protection of private and family life).
As Echo of the Caucasus reports, the court ordered Georgia to pay 2,000 euros for non-material damages to each plaintiff from Georgia and an additional 9,812 euros to one of the three plaintiffs.
Three transgender men (AD and others v. Georgia) appealed to the Strasbourg Court on the grounds that they cannot obtain legal recognition of their gender in Georgia because they have not undergone sex reassignment surgery.
According to Article 78(g) of the Law of Georgia "On Civil Acts", the reason for making an amendment to the record of a civil act is a change of gender.
In its decision, the court noted that "despite the fact that the right to change gender in civil records has existed in Georgia since 1998, in fact there has not been a single case of successful legal gender recognition."
The court also stated that "the impreciseness of current local legislation has hindered access to legal gender recognition in practice, and the lack of a clear legal framework has given local governments excessive discretionary powers, which can lead to arbitrary decisions when considering applications."
"Such a situation completely contradicts the obligation of the respondent state to ensure fast, transparent and accessible procedures for legal recognition of gender," the court said.
As Civil.ge writes, the first and second plaintiffs started the process of making changes to the record of civil status by officially changing their name to a male name on May 29, 2014 and January 22, 2015, by submitting the necessary documents to the Civil Registry. Soon both received medical reports issued by a psychologist, where they were diagnosed with "gender identity disorder (transsexualism)."
Based on this diagnosis, they applied to the Civil Registry to change their sex/gender in their civil status records, which refused them on the grounds that they had not undergone sex reassignment surgery.
Despite the fact that subsequent trials revealed that one of the plaintiffs had undergone hormone treatment and surgery to remove both mammary glands, the Tbilisi City Court did not uphold any claim based on Article 78(g) of the Law of Georgia "On Civil Acts". Both their attempts failed after the Supreme Court also dismissed their pleas on November 24, 2016 and March 9, 2017.
A third claimant, who underwent hormone treatment after deciding to change sex, went through a longer appeal process with both the registry and the court system.