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This is not legal advice, which can only be given by an attorney admitted to practice law in your jurisdiction after hearing all of the facts and circumstances in a particular case.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

News: EU Court rules in favor of transsexual pension rights

The European Union's Court of Justice has ruled that a British law which granted pension rights to transsexuals based on their original gender was illegal. Females are pensioned off at 60, whereas males are pensioned at 65. "The unequal treatment in this case is based on Ms. Richards' inability to have the new gender which she acquired following surgery recognised," the court said. "That unequal treatment must be regarded as discrimination."

On another British front, the Cabinet Minister for Women, the Rt. Hon. Tessa Jowell MP, recently released a guidance document for businesses regarding the Gender Recognition Act, discussed in a previous post. The implementing tribunal is the Gender Recognition Panel, which has issued detailed regulations and guidance regarding legal recognition of transsexual people in their acquired gender.

It is important to note that the references to "transsexual" here, rather than "transgender," mark an important distinction. The Gender Recognition Panel's standard application guidelines require that applicants show that they "have, or have had" gender dysphoria; have lived "fully for the last two years" in the acquired gender, and "intend to live permanently" in the acquired gender. Thus, those who do not intend to transition from one gender to another on a full-time basis, or to do so permanently, are not covered by the law. While the guidelines do not seem to require genital surgery, they are narrower than the definition of "transgender."

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