Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Can a gender be judicially changed?
Can a petition for a change of sex (gender) be judicially granted on the basis of sex reassignment surgery (sex alteration)? In the case Silverio vs. Republic (G.R. No. 174689, 22 October 2007), the Supreme Court rejected the ruling of the Trial Court and pronounced to the effect that there is no law allowing the change of entry in the birth certificate as to sex on the ground of sex reassignment.
If an individual is an intersexual (hermaphrodite) or having both male and female reproductive organs, can a petition for a change of gender be judicially allowed on basis of his or her intersexuality? There is also no law allowing the change of entry in the birth certificate as to sex on the ground of intersexuality.
However, the Supreme Court, in the case of Republic vs. Cagandahan (GR No. 166676, 12 September 2008), affirmed the decision of RTC Laguna granting the Petition for Correction of Entries in Birth Certificate of Jennifer B. Cagandahan to change her name to Jeff Cagandahan and her gender to male. Jennifer was diagnosed of having a Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, a rare medical condition where afflicted persons possess both male and female characteristics.
To quote the article in the Supreme Court, the High Court considered “the compassionate calls for recognition of the various degrees of intersex as variations which should not be subject to outright denial.” It noted that Cagandahan “thinks of himself as a male and considering that his body produces high levels of male hormones (androgen), there is preponderant biological support for considering him as being male.” It stressed that Cagandahan has let nature take its course in her develoment to reveal more fully his male characteristics.