Turkey court removed compulsory sterilization for legal gender change in a landmark ruling

Trans Pride week parade in Istanbul Turkey, photo from youtube.com
  • The Constitutional Court ruled that the mandatory infertility is a violation of the Constitution.
  • The European Court of Human Rights earlier issued against the country’s requirement for sterilization for gender change.
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The highest court in Turkey struck down the legal provision that required transgender people proof their inability to procreate when requesting to be allowed gender change on November 30.

According to the transgender news published by Daily Sabah Turkey, the Constitutional Court issued the landmark ruling for an applicant, who was born male, whose request to obtain identifying documents as a female was denied because she has yet to undergo sex reassignment procedures.

The legal requirement of sterilization has long been criticized by LGBT advocates for years.

Further details from the state-run Anadolus news agency and translated by LGBTI News Turkey revealed that the petitioner filed the case at Ankara 4th Court of First instance complaining the rejection she experienced in changing the gender marker on her identity card.

The Ankara 4th Court of First instance then forwarded the petition to the Constitutional Court after it was judged serious.

The General Council of the Constitutional Court rejected the annulment of Civil Code Article 40/2 in a majority votes.

It stated, “The court can make the necessary changes in the population registry after an official health institution confirms the gender change surgery was realized.”

Compulsory infertility

The law stated, “A person wanting to change their gender may apply to a court in person to request the allowance of gender change. However, in order to be allowed, the person needs to have passed the age of 18 and be unmarried, and document through an official health council’s report from an education and research hospital that they are of transsexual constitution, that it’s necessary to undergo gender change for their psychological health and be permanently deprived of the ability to reproduce.”

The court ruled that compulsory infertility as laid out in passage “permanently deprived of the ability to reproduce” to be contrary to the Constitution.

European Court of Human Rights ruling on Turkish Civil Code

Turkey was put in the spotlight several years back regarding its laws governing legal gender reassignment.

Back in March 2015, the European Court of Human Rights ruled against the Article 40 of the Turkish Civil Code.

The judgment was made in favor of a man identified in the courts as Y.Y. who was refused gender reassignment surgery by the court because he was not infertile.

Voting anonymously, the European court said, “The respect due to the physical integrity of the concerned party would be in opposition to his having to undergo sterilization… The resulting interference in the claimant’s rights with respect to his private life cannot thus be said to have been ‘necessary’ in a democratic society.”

Advocates have welcomed the decision even when it’s only limited to the mandatory sterilization and not on other obstacles such as obtaining a psychiatric certificate for the request.

Countries have been progressively making legal gender change easier by removing hurdles such as medical diagnosis which are criticized to pathologize and dehumanize transgender individuals. Denmark for example passed a law in 2014 that made the entire process a simple administrative procedure.


About Maki 212 Articles
Trans advocate, beauty queen, model, runner. Marketing director of mytransgenderdate.com.

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