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Conditions for Sex Change in Civil Status

To be able to request a sex change on your birth certificate, you must justify the irreversible nature of the visible physical transformations.

This is what the Court of Cassation has just recalled on the occasion of two judgments dated February 13, 2013. In both cases, a man had taken legal action to have the mention on his birth certificate replaced “male sex” by the mention “female sex”.

The Court considers that, in order to justify a request for rectification of the indication of sex in a birth certificate, the person must establish, in the light of what is commonly accepted by the scientific community, the existence and persistence of a syndrome transsexual as well as the irreversible nature of the transformation of his appearance.

The requirement of the irreversible nature of the transformation of the appearance replaces that of a medico-surgical treatment, posed by the two judgments of December 11, 1992. This last requirement had been understood by certain courts as imposing the removal of the original genitalia and their replacement with artificial genitalia of the claimed sex (gender reassignment surgery).

Circular on Sex Change in Civil Status

The Ministry of Justice issued a circular on May 14, 2010, regarding the conditions for requesting a sex change in civil status. The circular advises magistrates of the public ministry to support requests for changes in marital status when hormonal treatments, resulting in a permanent physical or physiological transformation, along with potential plastic surgery, have led to an irreversible change in sex. Notably, the circular no longer requires the removal of genitals through gender reassignment surgery. This guidance reflects a shift in the legal understanding of sex change, focusing on the irreversible nature of physical transformations rather than strict medical-surgical criteria.

A circular, from the Ministry of Justice, dated 14 May 2010, had invited the magistrates of the public ministry to give a favorable opinion to requests for change of marital status when hormonal treatments having had the effect of a permanent physical or physiological transformation , associated where appropriate with plastic surgery, had led to an irreversible change of sex, without requiring the removal of the genitals.

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