Transgender people are now banned from legally changing their gender in Bulgaria, according to the country’s Supreme Court, which issued a ruling that is automatically binding on all other courts.
“The current law does not provide for the possibility for the court to allow the change of the data regarding the gender, name and uniform civil number in the acts of civil status of an applicant who claims to be transgender,” the decision states.
Until now, some Bulgarian judges assumed that the legislation in the country allows legal gender change, but only explicitly after a court decision.
In the Supreme Court, however, other judges ruled in the opposite direction, and the country was condemned several times in cases before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg for the lack of a clear regulation.
The Bulgarian Law on Identity Documents still says that “in case of gender change”, citizens must send an application to issue new documents within 30 days. Because of this, some more liberal Bulgarian judges allowed for the possibility of gender reassignment when there was clear evidence that this was necessary.
Now that this door is closed, as the court explicitly said that gender reassignment should become the subject of detailed legal regulation.
The majority of supreme judges are stepping on the decision of the Constitutional Court from two years ago, which says that Bulgarian law understands gender as something that is determined at birth and exists only in the sense of biological sex.
The decision was dedicated to the sharp political and public debate on the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, which was finally repelled after a campaign filled with misinformation spread by nationalist parties on social networks.
Now the Supreme Court says that changing a person’s legal gender also affects his relatives like his children and his spouse. It ran the risk of legalising ex post facto same-sex marriage or children having same-sex parents, which was constitutionally impermissible.
“Such a change should be considered admissible only in the case of detailed legislation, which is currently lacking. If the court allows such a change without detailed legislation, this will put the legal position of the petitioner’s spouse and their children in a state of uncertainty.” the Supreme Court decision also wrote.
(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)