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Turkey court ends forced sterilization of trans people in historic ruling

Until the ruling trans people were forced to undergo sterilization in order to legally transition

Turkey court ends forced sterilization of trans people in historic ruling
Ankara has banned all LGBTI events. | Photo: Wikimedia/Lubunya

Trans people will no longer have to prove they ‘are unable to procreate’ in order to transition in a historic ruling at the Constitutional Court of Turkey.

Turkey’s highest legal authority made the landmark ruling at the end of November. The Constitutional Court removed the need for trans people to have undergo sterilization in order to legally transition, according to an Andalou news agency report.

Until the ruling, article 40 of the Turkish Civil Code outlined the requirements for people to legally change their gender.

The Code said ‘any person who wants to alter his or her sex’ must apply in person the other court, be unmarried, at least 18 years old, be ‘transsexual by nature’ and must have gender dysphoria. People were also required to undergo gender reassignment surgery.

But the controversial part of the Code required people to prove their ‘permanent infertility through a report of a board of health provided from a medical education and research hospital’.

Original petition

In June a court in Erdine in northwest Turkey ruled that article 40 of the Civil Code that the forced sterilization of trans people was a violation of human rights. A woman had filed an appeal after she was denied a female identity card when she requested in one. In Turkey, all people have coloured identity cards – pink or blue – depending on their gender.

The matter was then handed to the Constitutional Court to consider.

The General Council of the Constitutional Court discussed the basis of the petition at its meeting.

On November 30 the Council declared the need to prove ‘permanent infertility’ was unnecessary. It ruled that proof of gender affirming surgery would be enough of a requirement for people to legally change their genders.

Trans life in Turkey

Trans people face high levels of discrimination and violence in Turkey.

The government is also cracking down on the wider LGBTI community. In the capital, Ankara the local government has banned all LGBTI events. 


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