Seminar 5th Feb 2015 (Trans)Gender Recognition in Germany: The Role of the German Courts

UCD SSLThe Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) and UCD Human Rights Network and UCD Sutherland School of Law invites you to a keynote address from Prof. Dr. Johanna Schmidt-Räntsch, Judge of the German Supreme Court, on

“(Trans)Gender Recognition in Germany: The Role of the German Courts”

Date: Thursday, 05 February 2015

Time: 6.30pm-8.30pm

Location: William Fry Theatre, UCD Sutherland School of Law (directions and map)

A reception will follow Prof. Dr. Schmidt-Räntsch’s keynote address.

2 CPD Points available for practitioners

There is no charge for this event, however registration is required. You can register here. For registration enquires, please contact . This event will be of interest to the Trans community, LGBTQQ activists, judges, lawyers, government and public administration officials, academics and students.

The Keynote Address

The Oireachtas begins 2015 with debates on the first ever legislation to officially recognise transgender persons in Ireland, the Gender Recognition Bill 2014. There is concern about some clauses of the proposed Bill, with transgender persons arguing that they are too restrictive and would exclude some people (see, here and here). A particularly contentious clause would require transgender persons who are already married or in a civil partnership to divorce as a pre-condition for recognition in their preferred gender.

What can we learn from the experience of other European countries like Germany, where the Constitutional Court struck down a similar ‘compulsory divorce’ provision and other provisions of the German Transsexual Law as being in breach of the German Constitution or Basic Law? Judge Schmidt-Räntsch will discuss the German experience of gender recognition legislation and fundamental rights.


Ms Justice Catherine McGuinness, former Judge of the Irish Supreme Court.

Other Contributors:

Michael Farrell (FLAC)

Broden Giambrone (Transgender Equality Network Ireland) Continue reading “Seminar 5th Feb 2015 (Trans)Gender Recognition in Germany: The Role of the German Courts”

Seminar 5th Feb 2015 (Trans)Gender Recognition in Germany: The Role of the German Courts

Ryan on Gender Recognition and Marriage

Dr Fergus Ryan is a lecturer in law at the Dublin Institute of Technology.

When I first encountered Family Law as a discipline, the burning issue of the day was divorce.  Prior to 1995, divorce was constitutionally prohibited.  A prominent theme in the family law classes of the time was whether estranged married couples should be allowed to divorce and remarry.  It never crossed my mind that married couples might at some future point be required to divorce, against their collective wish to remain married.

When divorce was finally introduced it was nonetheless firmly considered a last resort, to be employed only when all else failed.  This is evidenced by the lengthy living apart requirement – four out of the previous five years – and the stipulation that a divorce will only be granted if there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation. Divorce legislation requires, moreover, that, prior to commencing litigation, parties be advised of alternatives to divorce.

The Gender Recognition Advisory Group (GRAG), in its report to the Minister for Social Protection on gender recognition legislation, recommended that transgender applicants who meet certain conditions should be allowed to access a gender recognition certificate. This would allow the recipient to change their legally assigned gender for all legal purposes.

The Group, however, recommended that applicants should not, at the time of the application for a gender recognition certificate, be married or in a civil partnership. The Group’s stated concern was that a gender recognition certificate would convert an existing opposite-sex marriage into a same-sex marriage and a same-sex civil partnership into an opposite-sex one, neither of which is legally permitted.  As the law currently stands, marriage is confined to opposite-sex couples, and civil partnership to same-sex couples.

The implication is that trans people who are currently married or in a civil partnership will need to obtain a divorce, civil partnership dissolution or annulment as a precondition to legal gender recognition.  Admittedly, many marriages do not survive a gender transition, but some do.  This places such intact couples Continue reading “Ryan on Gender Recognition and Marriage”

Ryan on Gender Recognition and Marriage