Register rectification for sex change: as easy as pie?

The French bill on justice for the 21st Century”, previously examined by the Senate, is currently being debated at the National Assembly. This bill could be used to make considerably easier the procedure for register rectification for sex change for transsexual or transgender individuals.

Based on provisions related to the civil status, but completely irrelevant to this issue, the Ecologist Deputy, Sergio Coronado made a first attempt (via amendment N°CL89) which was rejected on May 4, 2016 by the Law Commission. Five other amendments were then examined by the Law Commission on May 17, 2016, prior to the public debate sessions: three were rejected whereas two (283 and 282) were accepted. The last two amendments, which are a copy, word for word, of the bill proposed in September 2015, were also voted on during the public session on May 19th.

These amendments, one of which was presented by the socialist group, and the other by the ecologist group, are intended to take the procedure for sex change out of the medical and legal fields by stipulating that the “applicant does not have to provide any medical document whatsoever”.

Until now, an individual wishing to have his sex changed on the civil register must in theory prove that the change is irreversible and thus produce a medical certificate attesting to a sex-change surgery or sterilization.

Henceforth, it would all depend on the applicant’s self-determination, and the Procurer of the Republic is expected to “attest” that he “appears and is recognized” with a sex which is not the one indicated in his civil status register.

Thus changing sex could become a simple administrative procedure. The applicant simply needs to write a request to the Procurer and provide information of his choice to support his request and attest to the motivation for sex change. The application may contain testimonies from family or friends, statements confirming that he is changing his physical appearance or his behavior to correspond to the sex requested or even contain documents proving that he is victim of discrimination.

Reminder of the legislative procedure:

On July 31, 2015 the government presented the bill on justice for the “21st Century” and applied the expedited procedure for the bill. The text was adopted by the Senate on November 5, 2015, and then examined in public session by the National Assembly from May 17 – 24, 2016. Due to the expedited procedure, there will be no second reading, and the text will be directly submitted to a Joint Committee responsible for reconciling the different versions adopted by both assemblies.


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