Belgium greenlights unlimited gender reassignment for gender-fluid people

People who identify as gender-fluid can now change their gender or first name several times. Belgium's federal parliament gave the go-ahead for a new law to this effect on Thursday evening.

The bill by Justice minister Vincent Van Quickenborne and state secretary for Gender Equality Marie-Colline Leroy faced criticism from the Constitutional Court, which quashed parts of the 2017 Transgender Act. The court objected to the "principled irrevocability" of a change of gender registration and first name.

This element of the law ran counter to the principle of equality towards people with changing gender identities, the court ruled. People who wanted to adjust their gender registration or first name for a second time had to go to family court for a cumbersome procedure. After a second adjustment, no further change was allowed.

Simplified procedure

The new bill removes the principle of irrevocability. From now on, a person will be able to change their gender or first name several times. It also abolishes the procedure before the family court. A change of gender registration or first name will always be possible at the registrar of births, marriages and deaths through a procedure that is as simple as the first change.

The draft was given the green light in the House of Representatives on Thursday. In a second phase of the reform, it aims to address the recognition option for people with non-binary gender identities.


Justice minister Vincent Van Quickenborne © BELGA PHOTO HATIM KAGHAT

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