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Detention of Trans Activist Spotlights Bulgaria's Legal Gender Debate
Gabriela Bankova, a transgender woman who initiated a hunger strike on November 13 to challenge the court's denial of her gender change request, was apprehended by Bulgarian police due to the absence of valid identification papers.
Lawyer Denitsa Ljubenova, representing the youth LGBTQ group "Deistvie," informed "Dnevnik" media about Bankova's detention. Bankova's hunger strike aimed to protest Bulgaria's treatment of transgender individuals and to call for substantial judicial reforms.
In February 2023, the Supreme Court of Cassation issued an interpretive decision restricting the legal gender change for trans people. Bankova isn't optimistic about the outcome of the appeal given this precedent.
Bankova is striving for her legal documents to reflect her chosen female name and gender identity. The Sofia District Court initially denied her request, leading to an ongoing case in the higher court.
The Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC) condemned Bankova's detention as an infringement on basic human rights like peaceful assembly and expression. They urge Bulgaria to align with international standards by establishing an accessible process for legal gender change.
The BHC demands dialogue with the transgender community and organizations advocating for their rights. Urgent legislative changes aligning with global standards are necessary, they emphasize.
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