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Gender Recognition

For over 33 years (since the High Court ruling on the April Ashley case in 1969 - see links below), transsexual people have faced significant discrimination and social exclusion. The UK is one of only 4 of the 43 Council of Europe countries which fails to legally recognise the gender identity of transsexual people.

In 2002, following several unsuccessful challenges to the current UK law, the European Court of Human Rights ruled favourably in the cases of Goodwin v. UK and I v. UK. Christine Goodwin and "I" are two trans women who claimed that the current UK law breached article 8 of the ECHR, the right to respect for private life. They argued that they had been discriminated against on the grounds of their transsexual status in a number of areas, including employment, social security and pensions, and that their right to marry under article 12 had been breached because they could not marry as women.

The Court ruled unanimously that both article 8 and article 12 had been breached by UK law.

On 11 July 2003 the UK government published its draft Gender Recogntion Bill. Following a period of consultation the Bill received its first reading in the House of Lords on 27 November 2003.

In this section you can find information about the proposed Gender Recognition Bill and the background to the fight for transsexual rights.

Click on the titles below for more information

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