Court tells trans woman: You can’t have a female pension

July 31, 2014
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A trans woman’s claim to be entitled to receive the female state pension at the age of 60 has been rejected by the Court of Appeal in Belfast.

MB, who cannot be identified, transitioned from male to female but decided as a Christian to stay married “in the sight of God” to her wife of 38 years and the mother of their two children – a decision which blocked MB’s entitlement to the pension.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that Lord Justice Kay, sitting with Lord Justice Aikens and Lord Justice Underhill, rejected an appeal by MB against a decision of the Department for Work and Pensions to refuse a female pension for MB.

MB began to live as a woman in 1991 and underwent gender confirmation surgery four years later.

In April 2005 transgender people acquired the right to apply for a full gender recognition certificate under the 2004 Gender Recognition Act.

But a certificate could not be issued to a married person who did not have their marriage annulled on the basis of their gender change.

Appeal judge Lord Justice Maurice Kay said: “The appellant does not wish to have her marriage annulled. She and her wife have lived as a married couple for 38 years and do not wish to change.

“Also, as a Christian she says that she and her wife feel married in the sight of God.

“Accordingly she has not applied for a gender recognition certificate, and so far as the law is concerned she remains a man.”

When MB reached her 60th birthday in May 2008, she applied for a state pension but was refused on the basis that she was a man and would have to wait for the male pension at 65.

The appeal judges unanimously declared the refusal did not contravene the principle of equal treatment and was not discriminatory.

Earlier this month, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) declared married trans people living in countries without same-sex marriage must divorce if they want their new gender recognised.

Campaigners in Britain have continuously lobbied for an end to the spousal veto, which requires a married trans person to obtain written consent from their spouse before they can be granted gender recognition.

Unlike in Scotland’s same-sex marriage law, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act for England and Wales still includes this discriminatory requirement.

Related topics: Belfast, court of appeal, England, pension, pensions, Trans, Transgender

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