Italian court recognises non-binary person’s gender identity in historic first

The Court of Rome has recognised a non-binary person’s gender identity for the first time in Italian history.

The historic ruling came after a hearing on 10 February in which lawyer Giovanni Guercio asked the court to recognise the non-binary gender identity of an individual named Alex. 

Trans people in Italy must go before the court if they wish to legally change their gender and name as well as amend official identification documents. Under Law 164/1982, people must undergo a two-step process that requires judicial authorisation to legally change their gender and name on the registry office as well as undergo gender-affirming surgery when “necessary”, according to Stonewall.

Guercio told Gay.it that the 7 March ruling was important as it’s a “pilot case” that paves the way for the rights of non-binary Italians in the future.

The lawyer explained that people in Italy have been “given the opportunity to rectify documents” in the past, but it was “solely for physical health reasons”. 

But Guercio said Alex was “determined not to insist on ‘pathologising’ speeches”, declaring they are a non-binary person entitled to their individual gender identity. The judge “embraced” Alex’s “reconstruction”, which Guercio “supported with the law”. 

Guercio said the “greatest hope” is to update Law 164/1982 to better include a broad spectrum of gender identities. 

“Let’s not forget that these are judicial precedents and not law,” Guercio said. “So other judges can embrace them as they deviate.” 

The lawyer continued: “The law, on the other hand, is a law and a rule from which one cannot withdraw. 

“The precedent created has the purpose of putting on the foot to keep the door open for future sentences, but Law 164 is stopped at a hallucinating binary! 

“These are the points that must be scratched.”

Guercio hoped one day that Italian law would change to have the procedure for legal gender recognition be based on self-determination.

The lawyer believed that trans and non-binary people in Italy should be able to simply go to a “registry office with the chosen name and gender” “without going through the court”.

 

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