Regarding the marriage of
Michelle Bourke (Australian citizen) to
Michela Ledwidge (E.U. citizen)

Under British law, Michela is considered, by virtue of her birth certificate, to be legally male despite having lived, and been recognised, as a woman for most other circumstances since 1995.

After a three-year relationship, Michelle and Michela have decided to be legally married in the U.K. for the following reasons:

  1. as an E.U. citizen living in London, Michela is entitled to secure U.K. residency status for the partner she loves.
  1. under current legislation, to qualify as a same-sex de-facto couple, they would have to live together for two years longer than a heterosexual couple, with no residency rights for Michelle guaranteed during this time.
  1. the couple wishes to highlight the absurdity of current legislation which causes so much unnecessary distress to so many transgendered and gay people. This legislation would have prevented Michela from marrying her soul-mate, should that person have happened to be male.
  1. the couple wishes to demonstrate to the Establishment and society at large that alternative relationships are both valid and sustainable.

Michelle and Michela are happy to have this opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to each other. This is however not an event they choose to celebrate as the law currently requires the use of “bride” and “groom” labels for the vows. Furthermore, the General Register Office declined Michelle and Michela’s request to swap these labels on the (non-legal) grounds that  “this would not be appropriate”.

Neither Michelle nor Michela are available for photos, interviews, or further public comment.

For more information on transgender civil liberties in the United Kingdom, please refer to Press for Change