Trans Rights and Juridical Gender - What You Should Know

 

In Finland, where I live, we have a citizens’ initiative system similar to many other countries. In our system any citizen that is allowed to vote can make a proposition regarding for example a law or a state practise to a designated website. On this website, other citizens are able to support the initiative - once per citizen - and if an initiative gains the support of 50,000 people, the parliament must process it.

Very recently Trans ry, a Finnish trans rights organization, put forward a citizens’ initiative regarding the current trans law of Finland. The initiative gained 50,000 signatures in two days and will thus be forwarded to parliament. The initiative focuses on juridical gender rather than biological sex or medical treatments that trans people may want to undergo. So, I thought now would be a good time to talk about juridical gender and why juridical and medical transitions should be separated like the initiative suggests. I talk about Finnish law in this article but I believe that although some countries treat their trans citizens better than others, all countries have something they could improve regarding the treatment of trans people.

So firstly, juridical gender means the gender that is marked in a person’s official documents such as their passport or driver’s license. At the moment in Finland, in order to amend your official gender, you need a medical diagnosis. The initiative suggests that “one’s juridical gender should be based upon notification for all persons aged 15 or over, and for younger persons with a guardian’s permission” (The initiative’s Facebook page). This would be good for several reasons. For example, not all trans people want to transition medically. There might be several reasons behind this, but in the end all trans people and their gender identities are valid regardless of whether they transition medically or not. However, these people might still want to transition juridically and fully live as the gender they are. There are also several issues concerning medical transition that need to be considered. I absolutely support everyone’s right to transition medically but there are some medical procedures whose consequences are permanent which raises the question whether for example small children should have access to them, especially since there are alternatives such as hormone blockers. Juridical transition, however, has no permanent consequences. If a person decides that juridically transitioning was actually not the right choice for them, they could just transition back. No harm done. For many trans people, seeing an incorrect gender in for example their passports may also be very triggering and make them feel upset and dysphoric. Even if they want to medically transition, why should they have to wait through the entire, very long process to amend their juridical gender when it could easily be done right away? And don’t even get me started on why we should have a third option in addition to “female” and “male” while choosing a juridical gender.

Here are some arguments for why juridical and medical transitions should be separated from each other. If you want more information on the topic, you can visit for example Finnish Trans ry’s website (only in Finnish) or their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/OikeusOlla where you’ll also find some information in English. Finally, I am not trans myself so I can never have as good an understanding on trans issues as trans people themselves who for example constantly face discrimination based on their gender identity. So, here are some of my favourite trans YouTubers that you should definitely follow to learn more about trans issues and a broad selection of other topics:

Jammidodger

Samantha Lux

Jessie Gender

Stef Sanjati (not active on YouTube anymore but her videos are still great!)

NOAHFINNCE

Riley J. Dennis

Sources:

https://www.facebook.com/OikeusOlla

https://transry.fi/oikeus-olla-kansalaisaloite/?fbclid=IwAR2cBer-3XgfZ3fr_tk8eSr29p3fr1OO9JS0rx33xKVZGbwV-pqLbwAyWaQ