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The Ombudsman for Equality, Ombudsman for Children and Non-Discrimination Ombudsman: A reformation of Trans Act is required to meet the fundamental and human rights (issued 17 May, 2018)

The Ombudsman for Equality, Ombudsman for Children and Non-Discrimination Ombudsman: A reformation of Trans Act is required to meet the fundamental and human rights (issued 17 May, 2018)

Statement on 17 May 2018, International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, IDAHOT

Finland's current Trans Act sets multiple conditions for the change of legal gender. The law requires sterility, a psychiatric diagnosis and 18 years of age. The Ombudsman for Equality, Ombudsman for Children and Non-Discrimination Ombudsman are of the opinion that the law discriminates against people changing their sex.

For instance, the European Court of Human Rights came to the conclusion in the case A.P., Garçon and Nicot vs. France that the sterilisation requirement in legal gender recognition violates human rights. Finland is the only Nordic country demanding sterility as a precondition for legal gender recognition.

“In practice, legal recognition of gender means that a person receives ID documents matching their gender identity. Also information systems will then show the person’s gender correctly. If this reform is delayed or prevented altogether, the person is continuously faced with situations exposing her or him to discrimination. A smooth recognition of gender supports the well-being of gender minorities,” says Ombudsman for Equality Jukka Maarianvaara.

According to the Ombudsman for Children Tuomas Kurttila, one problem with the current law is that it forbids the reassignment of legal gender of under-aged persons altogether. “A young person is going through a sensitive time. Trans youth are at a particularly high risk for withdrawal, depression and self-harm. Public authorities should support the young person’s identity, instead of pulling the rug from underneath. Legal gender recognition should be facilitated and made possible to minors under certain conditions. Child welfare is also supported by calling the child by the name he or she chooses', says Kurttila.

“In the current system, legal gender, that is to say, the personal identity number, is unnecessarily bound to the care system playing the role of a gatekeeper,” says Ombudsman for Equality Kirsi Pimiä. “Gender reassignment surgery should be separated from the legal recognition of gender, and the requirement for transsexual diagnosis should be removed from the preconditions for changing one’s ID number.”


Further information:
Ombudsman for Equality Jukka Maarianvaara, tel. +358 295 666 830
Ombudsman for Children Tuomas Kurttila, tel. +358 295 666 850
Ombudsman for Equality Kirsi Pimiä, tel. +358 295 666 809

21.05.2018