Human Rights for Trans people

Being a post-operative transsexual person, though not pre-op or non-op, is a “protected status” within the meaning of the European Convention on Human Rights, article 14. This is the result of Carpenter v Secretary of State for Justice, in which a post-operative trans woman challenged the requirement to inform the Gender Recognition Panel of the details of her surgery. I found the case on Halsbury’s Law Exchange. What does protected status mean?

Article 14 provides, The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this European Convention on Human Rights shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.

This means that the State must not discriminate against a person because s/he is post-op trans, in enforcing rights under the Convention. Cases cannot be pleaded against other parties. A case must be pleaded about another right; but even if that case is not established,  it opens the door to the trans person pleading discrimination.

I am unclear as to what that might mean. The Human Rights Act remains essential for British freedoms, even for “British values”; I feel I am more likely to need the protection of other articles than article 14 as a post-operative trans woman.

Though post-operative, I resent this shibboleth of The Operation as the sine qua non of any protection under any law. Post-operative trans folk are a tiny minority of trans folk. I am more likely to be treated badly because I am trans, rather than because I am specifically post-op. Though as it is difficult to discover a person’s operation status, or even their desire permanently to express themselves in their true sex, other trans people may be protected because would-be discriminators fear legal action.

I doubt the British state will treat a post-operative trans woman differently because she is post-op. If they did, they have a discretion to justify why different treatment because of my operation is appropriate.

Monet, Sur la plage à Trouville

2 thoughts on “Human Rights for Trans people

  1. I’m not sure how the status of trans people is handled in NZ, but I hope it’s not on the basis of an operation. Currently the state funds two operations every three years, and the current waiting list for operations is somewhere around forty. It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to figure out the chances of obtaining an operation. To make matters worse, the only surgeon performing gender reassignment has retired, so the odds have been reduced to virtually nil at this time.

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    • They would have to go to Australia- or Thailand, where I went, and where there are many surgeons who specialise in M-F surgery. Though the recurrent coups and political instability might bother some.

      Under Part 5 of the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationship Registration Act a Family Court may declare that the applicant’s birth certificate should state the applicant is of the sex nominated in the application. The applicant must be 18 years of age or older, or a person who is younger than 18 years but who is or has been in a marriage, in a civil union or in a de facto relationship, and a person whose birth is registered in New Zealand or who is a New Zealand citizen. I got that here.

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