Transgender People – gender change in the law

A new ruling by the High Court of the canton of Zurich provides clarity on the requirements a Swiss resident must fulfill to change their legally registered gender (see also Art. 7 paragraph 2 lit. o ZStV). In accordance with the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), no permanent physical changes such as the subjection to medical operations or hormonal therapy may be made a prerequisite for the granting of the gender change. Any impairment of the reproductive ability is not to be a determining factor either. It is, however, to be considered whether an individual has undergone a transition from a psychological, social, and objective perspective. This requires the individual to undergo a full inner transition, which is then communicated to the social environment, as well as the recognisability of the transgender individual as a person of the desired gender by an unrelated third party. In case of a foreign residence, the regulations of the international private law (IPRG) must be observed by Swiss nationals. If the gender change is completed outside of Switzerland, the individual may request for the foreign ruling to be recognized by the Swiss authorities along with the modification of the registered civil status.

(Ruling of the High Court of the canton of Zurich of 19 September 2019; NC180003)

Change of legal gender in transgender persons