State-enforced Sterilisation Of Transgender Individuals

To require sterilisation or other surgery as a prerequisite to enjoy legal recognition of one’s preferred gender ignores the fact that while such operations are often desired by transgender persons, this is not always the case. Moreover, surgery of this type is not always medically possible, available, or affordable without health insurance funding. The treatment may not be in accordance with the wishes and needs of the patient, nor prescribed by his/her medical specialist. Yet the legal recognition of the person’s preferred gender identity is rendered impossible without these treatments, putting the transgender person in a limbo without any apparent exit. It is of great concern that transgender people appear to be the only group in Europe subject to legal prescribed, state-enforced sterilisation.”

Source: Council Of Europe Commissioner For Human Rights, Issue Paper Human Rights and Gender Identity, 29 juillet 2009 (n° CommDH/IssuePaper(2009)2), 8.


The difficulty of living with documents that reflect the wrong gender identity or wrong name cannot be exaggerated. Transgender persons who have been unable to change their passport or ID expericence problems every time they have to identify themselves, for example when paying with a credit card, taking out a library book, opening a bank account or crossing a border. As a result of having inadequate documents, transgender persons can spend long periods of life effectively barred from meaningful and full participation in society, education or employment, as they may face continual problems ‘justifying’ their identities. Transgender persons may also face practical problems in institutional settings such as hospitals, public toilets, police stations and prisons.” 

Source: Council Of Europe Commissioner For Human Rights, Discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in Europe, Straatsburg, Council of Europe, 2011, 90.