Research Handbook on Gender, Sexuality and the Law
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Research Handbook on Gender, Sexuality and the Law

Edited by Chris Ashford and Alexander Maine

This innovative and thought-provoking Research Handbook explores not only current debates in the area of gender, sexuality and the law but also points the way for future socio-legal research and scholarship. It presents wide-ranging insights and debates from across the globe, including Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Australia, with contributions from leading scholars and activists alongside exciting emergent voices.
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Chapter 11: Transgender rights in Europe: EU and Council of Europe movements towards gender identity equality

Peter Dunne


This chapter considers supranational legal approaches toward the protection of transgender (trans) rights in Europe. In recent years, trans populations across the Council of Europe have achieved increased rights entitlements. These expanded guarantees have resulted from a broad coalition of intersectional movements – social, legal and political. This chapter explores the role which two judicial actors – the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union – have played in developing trans protections. The chapter identifies key jurisprudence on gender recognition and non-discrimination, introducing landmark judgments such as Goodwin v UK, P v S and Cornwall County Council and Hämäläinen v Finland. The chapter offers a substantive critique of supranational judicial interventions. Acknowledging both the internal and external impact of European regional case law, the chapter acknowledges the transformative impact of the ECtHR and the CJEU in developing trans rights. Yet, observing an emphasis on trans medicalisation and high deference to national actors, the chapter suggests that European judicial approaches require further reflection.

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