Hungarian government seeks to disallow legally changing one's gender

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2020.04.01. 13:14

An omnibus bill submitted to Parliament by Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén on Tuesday night would make it impossible to officially change one's gender in Hungary.

The bill submitted to Parliament on none other than the international Transgender Day of Visibility seeks to introduce the term "Sex at birth" defined as "the biological sex determined by primary sexual characteristics and chromosomes" to the Civil Registry Act.

"Sex at birth" would replace "Gender" in the civil registry, and if the bill passes, altering this entry will be expressly forbidden,

making it impossible to legally change one's gender in Hungary.

Since data in official documents such as ID cards, driving licenses, and passports are taken from the civil registry, the change would affect these as well,

newly printed official documents would display SEX at birth,

an expert of administrative law speaking to Index clarified. It is unclear how this would affect changes of gender already entered into the civil registry, and since the civil registry can only contain first names that correspond to one's gender,

if the law passes, transgender people will no longer be able to register their chosen names, which means that it will also be disallowed to change the names on official documents to reflect one's gender identity.

The explanatory memorandum of the bill states that current legislation does not define the "gender" as it is determined biologically, adding:

"The sex entered into the civil registry is based on facts determined by doctors, declared by the registry. The registry certifies the facts and rights it includes until proven otherwise, therefore it does not create rights. However, the sex declared by the registry could create rights or obligations, and therefore it is necessary to define the term of sex at birth. Given that completely changing one's biological sex is impossible, it is necessary to lay it down in law that it cannot be changed in the civil registry either."

Earlier, Hungary refused to ratify the Istanbul Convention for its definition of gender as a social construct.

(Cover: Participants of the Budapest Pride Parade marching in the Hungarian capital on 6 July 2019. Photo: István Huszti / Index)

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