Ombudsman Eliza Savvidou has accused the Civil Registry and Migration Department of transphobia after a transgender woman reported delays in securing a registration certificate as a European citizen.
According to the report, the woman who is originally from Greece has lived on the island for 25 years and has three children who are registered as Cypriot citizens.
Due to financial difficulties and health problems which do not allow her to work, the woman applied for benefits from the social welfare services but is facing difficulties as her identity card lists her sex as male and she does not have a registration certificate.
The ombudsman's report says that the department has failed to settle the issue of the woman's residency in Cyprus for the last three years, claiming adequacy of resources.
"I cannot explain the stance of the department as anything but deriving from transphobic motives," Savvidou said in her report. It is also noted that the involvement of the woman's ex-wife, who works for the civil service, has played a significant role in the delay, while it appears that she is also responsible for driving the plaintiff to financial and psychological devastation.
According to the report, the plaintiff had a profitable business until 1995 and on November 26, 2010 applied for a registration certificate in Cyprus as a European citizen.
Meanwhile, the woman's sex change operation took place after a psychiatric evaluation confirming that the patient had tendencies towards the female sex since childhood and has adopted a female identity for the last 20 years, maintaining a stable personality and presenting no signs of mental disorder.
On September 24, 2012, the woman's children filed a complaint through their lawyer to the former Interior Minister, expressing their opposition to the change of their personal information on the country's official documents in case their biological father's information is also changed.
"My clients object to it appearing in their records that their biological father has undergone a sex change operation and has changed his name. The fact that Mr … has chosen to change name does not concern them but they object to any additions of this information to their own personal data in the records or documents of the republic."
The ombudsman points out that in light of the above, the lack of procedures in the Cypriot legal system to allow changes to the sex and names of transgender individuals is problematic and systematically violates the integrity of these people.
"I am therefore suggesting the implementation of a clear framework which puts into place quick and transparent administrative procedures through which transgender individuals can change their sex and name based on their own self-definition on all their official documents, including birth certificate, passport, identity card, driver's licence, educational documents etc."