Marriage and Forced Divorce for Trans and Intersex People

A recent brief has been published by Open Society noting that the vast majority of trans people around the world cannot obtain legal recognition of—or official documents that match—their gender identity. Where laws do recognize trans people, they often exclude those who are married. This forces trans people to choose between legal recognition of their gender identity or their marriage. Forced divoce violates trans people’s right to privacy, marriage, and recognition under the law.

This brief explains legal restrictions that affect the recognition of married trans and intersex people. It examines case law and addresses key arguments made by those who oppose such recognition. It is the first of four resources for activists that accompany Open Society’s 2014 report on legal gender recognition across the world, License to Be Yourself.

The Introduction:

In 2014, the Open Society Foundations produced License to be Yourself, a report on progressive gender recognition laws and policies for trans people, as well as the activist strategies behind them.

This brief is one of four complementary resources for activists that summarize and address some of the key arguments made by those who oppose access to legal gender recognition. This brief focuses on legal gender recognition restrictions that affect married people. It provides counter-arguments that can be used by those advocating for rights-based gender recognition laws and policies.

Although this brief is written from a trans perspective, many of the issues it describes are relevant to people with intersex variations. In addition, it includes some specific information about how people with intersex variations are affected by gender recognition laws that exclude people who are married.

The brief can be read or downloaded HERE.

© 2015 African Human Rights Coalition

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