Posted on 8. January 2015 in Press

On Dec 8, 2014, Christine Goodwin passed away after long illness. We express our condolences to Christine Goodwin’s family and close ones.

Christine Goodwin had been a trailblazer for trans rights when she successfully fought for the right to marry before the European Court of Human Rights in 2002 (Christine Goodwin v The United Kingdom [2002] ECHR (Case No 28957/1995)).

Back then the UK did not have any procedures to recognize trans people’s gender identity and enable access to a corresponding birth certificate and identification documents. As a consequence, a trans woman who wanted to marry a man would be denied as they would have the same ‘male’ gender marker. Until March 2014 it remained impossible in the UK to marry somebody of the same legal gender.

While ruled on the UK, Christine Goodwin’s case became a watershed case for trans rights throughout Europe as the Court established that governments have to enable the rectification of birth certificate and identification documents upon gender reassignment. It was a paradigm shift strengthening trans people’s human rights. However, today still 20 European countries do not have established procedures in place.

Christine Goodwin’s contribution to the today established rights for trans people in the UK and Europe cannot be underestimated. She was brave and outspokenly visible when shame, fear and marginalization ruled public perception of trans people. Christine Goodwin was one of the few trans applicants who refused to be anonymous and insisted that her name was used as she “had nothing to be ashamed of” (Press for Change; 2014).

Her struggle and her win had a huge impact on the situation of trans people in Europe. It did not only establish rights, but it also empowered a marginalized community. Even though her last years were marked by illness she still sought to be an activist for trans rights and to inspire others to fight the injustice that still exists.

Today, at the occasion of her funeral, we bow deeply to Christine Goodwin and her life as a pioneer. Her legacy will certainly continue to inspire our work for the rights and equality of all trans people in Europe.

Berlin, 08 January 2015,

the team of Transgender Europe