Athens, January 18, 2021
Subject: «Unacceptable decision of the Athens Magistrates’ Court without adapting the surname according to the gender identity of the trans man and medicalization of his identity»
The Greek Transgender Support Association (GTSA), a voluntary non-governmental organization for the rights and freedoms of trans, gender-diverse, intersex and LGBTI persons in general, as well as sex workers, with this press release,strongly protests against an unacceptable decision of the Athens Magistrates’ Court in which the current legislation that requires the adaptation of the surnames of trans persons according to their gender identity has not been applied, while medicalizing the identities of trans persons.
The case concerns a court request of a trans man for legal recognition of gender identity according to the provisions of Law 4491/2017, which was filed in the Athens Magistrates’ Court on 25.2.2018, then it was appointed on 10.10.2019, postponed for 28.4.2020, postponed again due to the measures of the first wave of the pandemic, and the trial was appointed and held on September 17, 2020.
The court request concerned, in addition to the change of the registration of the gender, and the first name, and the adaptation of the surname of the trans man to a surname that the trans man uses, he has been socialized for many years, but also under his insurmountable need his new surname to disconnect him from traumatic experiences of discrimination but also domestic violence he had experienced, as detailed in his request.
The Court, although accepted in the operative part of the decision the change of the registration of the gender and the first name, rejected the change of the surname of the trans man on the reason that this can be done according to Article 94, par. 6 of Law 3852/2010 by decision of the Mayor that the person is registered, however, after rejecting this request, didn’t adapt the surname according to the gender identity of the trans man. That is, the surname of the trans man remained in the female gender.
However, according to Article 4, par. 1 of Law 4491/2017 (legal recognition of gender identity), it is explicitly stated that: “The correction of the registered gender is made by a court decision in accordance with article 782vΚΠολΔ. The application states the desired gender, the main name chosen and the relatively adapted surname “.
In addition, the decision states that: “[…] showed symptoms of transgender disorder (female to male), ie the internal and personal way in which she experiences her gender did not correspond to the gender registered at birth […]”.
On this we should note that: a) There is no medical manual in any country of the world or classification of the World Health Organization under the label “transgender disorder”, b) The World Health Organization from 2018 during the revision of the international classification list ICD-11, removed the existing label of the so-called “gender identity disorder”, c) Unacceptably identifies gender identity, ie the individual and internal way a person experiences his/her gender, with some so-called “disorder” (specifically states “transgender disorder, ie the individual and internal way”), d) In the court request of the trans person there is no medical opinion – after all the main reason that was introduced and voted Law 4491/2017 was the disconnection of gender identity from any medical condition, as crystallized in Article 3, par. 4 of the law: “For the correction of the registered gender it is not necessary to confirm that the person has undergone any previous medical intervention. No further examination or medical treatment related to the person’s physical or mental health is required.
On the contrary, the Court, who adjudicated the case, without – as we mentioned – nowhere in any country of the world a medical classification under the label “transgender disorder” (in fact states “showed symptoms” – who diagnosed them? A judge makes diagnoses?) , and although the enforced legislation that explicitly states that no such thing is required and it should have been aware of this, there is nothing in the case file and no diagnosis that refers to “symptoms of the disorder”, she, arbitrarily and by herself – making an impersonation in the profession of psychiatrist? – to “diagnose” something as if she were a psychiatrist and while nowhere in any manual is there such a label, while at the same time leaving the surname of the trans man in the female gender unchanged.
In addition to the absurdity of a person who is now legally (is) and recognized as a man having a surname in the female gender, the Court in this case: a) Violates the privacy of the person as in his transactions will now appear with a first name in male gender and surname in female gender and therefore this will be the subject of discussion during his transactions in relation to his identity, b) In fact, Article 6 of Law 4491/2017 (secrecy of the procedure) is violated as his trans identity will be obvious during the transactions, while c) Offends the trans person by medicalizing his identity, and presenting that he allegedly has “symptoms (of some non-existent) disorder”, and d) Without taking into account any diagnosis a judge “diagnosed” as to be a psychiatrist.
The Greek Transgender Support Association (GTSA), protesting in a very strong way for all the above, states that it will support in every appropriate way the appeal of the trans man to disciplinary measures against the judge for the unacceptable and offending decision for all trans persons, as well as and for a mistrial, all this with a possible racist motive since it is unprecedented a judge to diagnose a non-existent “disorder” by insulting the trans person, and at the same time calls on the State: a) To exempt trans persons from the court process of Law 4491/2017, making extrajudicial proceedings, in accordance with the standards of the Council of Europe, as the experience of three years of application of the law clearly proves that it creates problems for trans people, b)In Article 4, par. 1 to explicitly give the possibility of choosing a surname, as in another trans man case, the Mayor of Perama denied the possibility of applying Article 94, par. 6 of Law 3852/2010 to change the surname (for this case has been appealed to the Council of State) and to remove the restrictive conditions of the law, as well as c) To undertake training seminars for judges of Magistrates’ Courts for the correct application of the current legislation on the legal recognition of gender identity, as the number of complaints of its incorrect application increases.
THE BOARD OF MEMBERS
GREEK TRANSGENDER SUPPORT ASSOCIATION
79 Sygrou Street, 3rd floor, Athens, 11745
Office hours: Monday to Friday
09.00-14.00 & 17.00-20.00