Credit: Freepik

Constitutional Court Strikes Down Mandatory Surgery Requirement  For Sex Changes

Surgery will no longer be a condition for official sex change, after the Czech Constitutional Court struck down a number of disputed sections of the current law, effective from mid-2025, the court announced today on its website.

The requirement of surgery and castration for a “status” sex change is contrary to human dignity, the court said. It deemed the current state of affairs unsustainable, pointing to the long-term inaction of politicians, who must now discuss and adopt new legislation. In the meantime, the existing conditions apply, as the effect of today’s ruling has been postponed.

The Constitutional Court recognised that the current legislation may pursue a legitimate aim, namely ensuring legal certainty and stability. “However, according to the Constitutional Court, the legal requirements for the surgical transformation of the genital organs and the disabling of the reproductive function are in direct conflict with the fundamental right of trans people to the protection of their bodily integrity and personal autonomy, above all because they violate their human dignity,” reads the ruling by judge-rapporteur Jaromir Jirsa.

A man who is officially registered as a woman, who seeks to change his gender but does not wish to undergo surgery, turned to the Constitutional Court after not succeeding at the registry office or the administrative courts. One of the three-member panels of the Constitutional Court referred his petition to the plenary, i.e. the committee of all constitutional judges. The plenum granted it by a large majority. Two of the 15 judges, Josef Fiala and Milan Hulmak, dissented.

The Constitutional Court deleted the sentence from the Civil Code that “the change of a person’s sex occurs through a surgical procedure with simultaneous disabling of the reproductive function and transformation of the sexual organs”. In the law on specific health services, it deleted the sentence that “for the purposes of this law, the change of sex of transsexual patients shall be understood as the performance of medical procedures whose purpose is to perform a change of sex by means of a surgical procedure with simultaneous disabling of the reproductive function.”

The author of the motion welcomed today’s finding as hope for others. “A positive decision by the court could hopefully provide hope for those who are unsure whether or not they want castration or are unable or unwilling to undergo it. That the situation is moving somewhere and they could hopefully also change their documents in the near future without having to mention the discriminatory condition,” he said in a press release.

He had already realised about a decade ago that he did not wish to be castrated and hoped that the situation might change. “This has not happened, but in the meantime the map of Europe has gradually seen more and more countries removing this condition,” he said.

“The role of the Constitutional Court is, among other things, to ‘catalyze’ democratic debate in situations where it has not yet taken place or where it has long been dysfunctional,” Jirsa said in his ruling. “This is what the court is doing in the present case, giving the legislator more than one year to regulate the conditions of gender reassignment in the Czech Republic in a dignified manner consistent with the constitution.” 

According to the Constitutional Court, politicians should address the sensitive social questions related to the gender reassignment of trans people at the legislative level, using the available scientific knowledge.

The Justice Ministry has had a bill in preparation for two years that would remove the condition of gender reassignment surgery, but there has been no political consensus as to whether and when it should be submitted for consideration by the authorities, said Justice Minister Pavel Blazek (ODS).

Human Rights Commissioner Klara Simackova Laurencikova said the decision was excellent news. She wrote on social media that she believes that the government will now decide on the new regulation as soon as possible.

“Congratulations to all transgender people in our country,” wrote Simackova Laurencikova. “Today is an important milestone on the road to greater dignity and protection of your rights. I am very happy,” She said the decision of the Constitutional Court was great news and a sign of support for the joint efforts of all those who have been trying to remove this undignified practice from legislation in the Czech Republic.

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