European Human Rights Court Fines Romania For Transgender Rights Violations

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The Strasbourg headquarters of the European Court of Human Rights
The Strasbourg headquarters of the European Court of Human Rights

BUCHAREST — The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has convicted Romania of violating the rights of two transgender people by refusing to recognize their gender identity because they had not undergone sex-change operations.

The Strasbourg-based court on January 19 ruled that the Romanian state violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which upholds the “right to respect for private and family life,” and ordered the country to pay a total of nearly 26,000 euros ($31,525) in moral and nonpecuniary damage, costs, and expenses.

The applicants, named as X and Y by the ECHR, are Romanian nationals who were born in 1976 and 1982, respectively, and were registered as female at birth.

X moved to Britain in 2014 and obtained male forenames there after Romanian courts refused to change his gender.

Y was issued with a new Romanian identity card in 2018 indicating a male forename and giving his gender as male, but only after undergoing surgery the previous year.

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The ECHR said in a statement that Romanian national courts “presented the applicants, who did not wish to undergo gender reassignment surgery, with an impossible dilemma: either they had to undergo the surgery against their better judgement…or they had to forego recognition of their gender identity.”

The court said that Romania’s stance placed the pair in a situation of “vulnerability, humiliation, and anxiety.”

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