France passes new law to scrap mandatory sterilisation for transgender people.

Rights activists celebrated a major victory in France on Thursday after the country passed legislation allowing transgender people to legally change their gender without undergoing sterilization.

“These are years of sparring that finally came to fruition,” spokeswoman Sophie Aujean of the ILGA-Europe network of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups told Reuters. “There is no other population in the world that is asked to be sterilised apart from transgender,” she added.

The move comes after a handful of European nations strengthened the rights of transgender people by scrapping requirements such as undergoing medical procedures in order to have their desired gender legally recognised.

Since 2014, Denmark, Malta and Ireland have allowed people to legally change their gender by simply informing authorities, without any medical or state intervention.

The practice of involuntary sterilisation has been widely condemned as a human rights violation, including by the United Nations.

The ILGA-Europe network of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups welcomed the change in French law, which came after a two-year campaign.

There are no official figures for transgender people in France because the census does not count them, but activists believe there are tens of thousands of them living in the European country.

A report compiled by ILGA-Europe in May ranked France 9th out of 49 European countries basing scores on laws, policies and practices that affect LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) individuals.

In Europe, transgender people are twice as likely as gay people to be attacked, threatened or insulted, according to a European Union report published in December 2014.

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

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