…ah, the excuses they come up with!
The authorities, you see, want nothing but the best for us poor down-trodden minorities. And doesn’t that apply double when it comes to issues of gender?
They don’t want the wrong people to be re-assigned. Cause, after all, undergoing years of hormones and then applying for an operation to have your private bits cut off is an easy sort of mistake to make. People are doing it all the time!
And sometimes, “they” – that nebulous reactionary “they” who no longer have the courage to voice their convictions aloud – just don’t want you to re-assign…and they will place any and every obstacle in your way to make sure you don’t. All, of course, with your best possible interests in mind.
That certainly seems to be what is going on in France right now, as Delphine Ravisé-Giard found out last year, to her cost.
Delphine transitioned in 2007. She takes hormones. She lives as a woman. This was good enough for her employer – the French Air Force – who happily accepted her new gender and swapped over her records. Everything.
Good for them. The military, when they aren’t being pig-headed and charging down the wrong valley, are frequently far more pragmatic than other bits of society.
Last year, however, Delphine applied to have this change recognised formally by the state. Back came the civil court in Nancy with a resounding “Non!”. France – at the time – required that an individual have undergone irreversible surgery (i.e., the full gender re-assignment process) before the state would recognise a change of gender.
Things looked up earlier this year when the Justice Minister indicated that, in line with European pronouncements on Human Rights, full re-assignment was not necessary. An individual merely needed to be undergoing procedures, such as (note the italics) hormone therapy or plastic therapy.
So Delphine returns to court and…they welcome her as a new woman? Er. Not quite.
The Justice Minister appeared to have been giving examples of the sort of thing that would be acceptable when it came to recognising someone’s new gender. Cosmetic surgery was one such criterion.
The court, in its wisdom, decided this was a definitive list and now – since Delphine refuses to submit proof of having undergone breast augmentation – has refused her request again.
So is the court (actually the grand-sounding Tribunal de Grande Instance de Nancy ) actually carrying out the letter of the law – or protecting anyone from anything?
The Justice Minister’s remarks appear to have put forward a few “for instances”. The court has taken him literally. Why is a matter best known to themselves.
There can be little harm done by acknowledging the desire by a committed and professional young woman to be known by the gender she is. Failure to recognise her gender probably does more harm than good. A decision in her favour is unlikely to open any floodgates.
So we are left to conclude that this is petty-fogging anti-trans bureaucracy at its worst. There really is no good reason to delay recognising Delphine’s gender a moment longer.
But there is a minuscule technical legal reason for doing so – and as long as such reason exists, it provides cover for the transphobes to hide behind.
(which, as francophiles will be aware, is some 900km almost due south of Nancy).