News Feed: French Presidential elections highlight Rights gap for Trans voters in France

As the dust settles on the first round of the French Presidential election this morning, a sharp warning from France’s National Transgender Association (ANT), that discrimination by the French state means that Trans citizens can no longer count on access to that most basic of Human Rights – the right to vote!

According to a spokesperson for the ANT, the problem arises with the refusal of the French government to permit trans individuals to change their civil status without first submitting to significant preconditions. Tens of thousands of trans voters who wish to protect their private life can therefore no longer register for electoral purposes.

Evidence that this issue is very live came as Madame Delphine Ravisé-Giard, ANT’s National Secretary found her attempt to vote last week blocked by officials in Toul in the Meurthe-Moselle Department in the North-East of France.

Despite holding papers from the court of Appeal in Nancy, dated September 2011, recognizing her change of status, and taking with her identity documents and a voting card all amended in line with that judgment, Delphine still found herself blocked from voting because the electoral register had not been updated.

Delphine was eventually allowed to vote – but only after she had been forced to provide detailed and very public explanation of her status to officials present. She has now written to the Mayor of Toul, complaining of her treatment and demanding that the Electoral Register be amended in line with the court’s decision.

In her letter, she talks about the disrespect to her right to privacy. She writes: “I was required to provide detailed explanations, which in turn obliged me to reveal to all those present in the voting station a particular detail concerning my private life. I had to insist forcefully on my right to vote.”

Commenting on this state of affairs, Stéphanie Nicot, spokeswoman for ANT said: “For everyone else in France, voting is a civic duty. For transgender persons simply to exercise their right is a battle. This situation has to change – and fast!”

Jane Fae

Analysis

Despite the fact that such a situation may be considered a disgrace in a modern democracy, this story reveals little new about what is happening in France, beyond, possibly, a degree of bureaucratic ineptitude in Toul.

The French state continues to resist calls from the EU to recognise the gender status of trans men and women without sterilisation or surgical intervention. Ms Ravisé-Giard has been at the forefront of legal battles to change this attitude – but clearly, even where the courts recognise a change of status, electoral officials are rather slower to put such changes into effect.

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6 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    I’d like to make a point of clarification here for members of the press who may have limited familirity with trans issues. Not only is mandatory surgery an ethically worrying requirement, it is simply impossible for some trans people who may happen, for instance, to have health problems that mean they cannot undergo lengthy operations. In addendum to this, France’s judges have demonstrated a very subjective approach to considering surgery adequate in this regard; one trans woman was refused a change of status because her breasts were considered too small.

  2. 2

    herr brockman said,

    You guys have really taken hyperbole beyond the ludicrous extreme to to fantabulously excessive. But then what is one to expect from such fanciful thinkers.

    I mean, how oppressive and outlandish is it for a government body to require an actual CHANGE of SEX in order to change the legal documentation of said sex.

    Oh I forgot, you all are what ever “gender” you choose to be and since sex and gender are the same thing, then of course it stands to reason that you can be what ever sex/gender you say you are.

    Ah the beautious advantages of conflation and declaring that words mean what ever you say they do…..TODAY.

    ROFLMAO

    • 3

      janefae said,

      Just in case any readers are tempted: Herr Brockman is pure troll, with very little empathy for the trans condition and a habit of responding not to what is written but to what he imagines is written on the page.

      In this instance, the primary issue is whether Delphine should be able to exercise her right to vote according to her name and gender which have been specifically recognised by the French courts. Seems a fair ask.

      Beyond that, the piece is about names and identity, rather than gender per se. The inference i make from the comment above is that somehow “gender” or “sex” are relevant when it comes to the voting process. Interestingly, in the UK that is simply not the case.

      Electoral roll name is simply a convenient label that one may amend, at will, so long as one has furnished sufficient proof that one is entitled to the privileges of the original label. Having worked with the UK government on looking at issues of identity, i’d add that the country’s experts (or at least, expert bureaucrats) concur on this issue.

      Given that it is quite possible to vote without furnishing proof of gender one way or t’other, i wonder why Herr Brockman thinks it relevant. I know of no modern democracy in which sex or gender influence one’s fundamental democratic rights: so either he is thinking of some other syustem; or this is just another rather poorly thought thru troll.

      jane x

  3. 4

    herr brockman said,

    AHEM “France’s judges have demonstrated a very subjective approach to considering surgery adequate in this regard; one trans woman was refused a change of status because her breasts were considered too small…..”Jennie”

    “discrimination by the French state means that Trans citizens can no longer count on access to that most basic of Human Rights – the right to vote!”…..”Despite holding papers from the court of Appeal in Nancy, dated September 2011, recognizing her change of status, and taking with her identity documents and a voting card all amended in line with that judgment, Delphine still found herself blocked from voting because the electoral register had not been updated.”….Jane

    Gee Janie, what “status” was that?

  4. 5

    herr brockman said,

    “In this instance, the primary issue is whether Delphine should be able to exercise her right to vote according to her name and gender which have been specifically recognised by the French courts. Seems a fair ask……Beyond that, the piece is about names and identity, rather than gender per se.” -Jane

    So which is it? Is gender an intergral part of identity or not? You cannot have it both ways, Jane. And based on your reduction to name calling, you have already lost the arguement. Just because I disagree with the “know-it-all” arrogance of your sophistry, does not qualify me as a troll.

  5. 6

    emma said,

    Herr Brockman,

    Do you define who you are and how you express yourself (possibly “a man” given your “Herr”) or does your sex decide all that for you?


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