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Wednesday, 20 March, 2002, 06:40 GMT
Sex change women demand rights
European Court of Human Rights
The case is at the European Court of Human Rights
Two Britons who were born male, but had sex change operations, are taking the government to the European Court of Human Rights for failing to recognise them as women.

Christine Goodwin, 64, and a second person who has not been named, say English law denies them the right to a new sexual identity

The women say their right to privacy and a life free of discrimination is undermined because they cannot marry men, or stop employers checking birth certificates to see what sex they were at birth.

The UK is one of four countries in the Council of Europe which does not recognise a sex change as legally valid. The others are Ireland, Andorra and Albania.

'Sexually harassed'

Ms Goodwin, 64, will also argue that her human rights have been denied because she is unable to draw a pension until she is 65.

English law allows women to qualify for a pension when they turn 60.

The former bus driver, who had a full sex change operation in 1990, will tell the court in Strasbourg she was not given a new National Insurance number after the operation.

She will say employers were able to discover her former sex and that without fully changing her identity she was sexually harassed and embarrassed at work.

The second woman claims she could not sign up to a nursing course because she refused to present her birth certificate.

See also:

09 Jan 01 | Education
School master to have sex change
14 Aug 00 | Europe
Sex change flier to keep job
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