This is only a preview of unpublished case!
Transgender discrimination towards the process of gender reassignment
Norway, action created 11.8.2014, petition is active
Sixty-five Norwegian born as males are demanding their right to change their sex. This is only possible in Norway after undergoing the gender reassignment procedure. John Jeanette has undergone a complete sex change, which includes sterilization, and wants to undergo drastic surgery, but faces discrimination because of her personal papers (which identifies John Jeanette as a man).
John Jeanette Solstad Remo had to hide and suppress her transsexuality for many years. When she was four, she was caught for the first time wearing women's clothes. And then again at the age of 25. "It was pretty hard not to have anyone with whom I could talk about it, but I stopped due to personal fulfillment in other activities and repression of my feelings."
People who want to be legally recognized in Norway based on their chosen gender must undergo "a complete sex change" as defined by the Norwegian State University Hospital (DSB). This change involves compulsory psychiatric diagnosis and medical care, including the surgical conversion of genitals and sterilization.
John Jeanette comes from a military family and was expected to seek a career in the army. To fulfill the expectations of parents, John lived a double life. On each occasion, she dressed as a woman, but also worked as a pilot and commander of the submarine. "It was exhausting. I was still full of anxiety, and the more I went out dressed as a woman, the more my anxiety grew."
John Jeanette joined the Norwegian Association for Transgender (FTP-N) in 1986, but openly declared his sexual identity in 2010. She left the army and became an activist working for many different organizations in support of transsexuals. "I dreamed that I would be able to take advantage of the fact that I am a transsexual, and assert the necessary changes. In fact, it took me almost 61 years before I could be myself and live my dream fully."
John Jeanette is a legally valid name, but her friends say Jeanette. John uses the name Jeanette in public to highlight the discrimination against transgender people whose rights are violated. Although the name change was relatively easy, on all legal documents she still referred to as "man" or "male". Jeanette's transsexual identity cannot remain confidential.
The Norwegian Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Health rejected Jeanette's request for sex reassignment on the grounds that the John has not undergone "a complete sex change", which in Norway is required since the mid-70s in order for people to be legally recognized in the opposite sex than the one with which he/she is born. "I like my sexuality, and I know that sex reassignment surgery and hormone treatment are very difficult, and that many people after such medical intervention experience difficulties I do not want to undergo that."
Jeanette's story is evidence that that a man's right to private life is violated daily. "I remember how I once voted at the reception in the hotel where I stayed, and the man at the front desk found out what I am. He saw a man dressed in women's clothes. He began to laugh at me straight in the face. I paid and hurried off to car. When I left, I saw all the staff watching through the window. I was very disappointed and I suffered from depression long after that."
The legal recognition of sex reassignment for Jeanette would mean "being seen as the person who I feel inside. No one should experience such outrageous incidents. When you have to spend a lifetime struggling to be the one actually is, and yet you are still in known as a man in the office or in everyday life."
Until January 2014, only transexuals who have undergone a "complete sex change" are protected against discrimination. The new anti-discrimination legislation explicitly provides protection against discrimination based on gender identity and gender expressions. It is not clear whether the new legislation will have any impact on the current issues involving the legal recognition of a gender-specific approach to medical care for transsexuals.