A woman, who was born a man but was legally declared female following gender reassignment surgery, filed a Constitutional application today claiming that a previous court decision stopping her from getting married was in breach of her human rights and subjected her to degrading and inhuman treatment.

Joanne Cassar explained that she was born a man and, ever since she was a child, she felt she was female. When she was old enough she had gender reassignment surgery and, some time after, the court upheld her request to alter her gender annotation to female on her birth certificate.

She eventually applied for the issuing of her marriage banns to marry her partner but the director of Public Registry objecting and she took her case to court.

On February 12, 2007, the Civil Court, ordered the director of Public Registry to issue the marriage banns for the woman after noting that the union between her - who had been recognised as a woman on her birth certificate - and her male partner did not contravene any provision of the Marriage Act.

On February 28, the director of Public Registry, in his capacity as Registrar of Marriages, filed an application, also in the Civil Court, requesting the reversal of the court decree permitting marriage banns to be issued.

In May this year, Mr Justice Joseph R. Micallef upheld the registrar’s request.

Ms Cassar has now taken her case a step further and filed a constitutional application claiming a breach of her human rights. She is arguing that she suffered from gender identity disorder which was the reason why the resorted to surgery. Maltese law did not recognise her as belonging to the post-surgery gender for all legal intents and purposes. This put her in the situation when she could not marry a man or a woman and therefore exposed her to degrading treatment and was in breach of her fundamental human right to marry.

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