Legal Personality and Gender
A woman is a human being under the law. Few would argue with that conclusion. However, the law does not always afford a female the full extent of her rights. The main areas of law in which this is evident are in the areas of reproduction and rape.
For example, in the area of rape, it is revealing that until May 2004, when the Sexual Offences Act of 2003 became effective, courts would deem a man not guilty of rape if the man subjectively believed the woman had consented. This was regardless of what the woman says she did or said to demonstrate he lack of consent. Under this theory then, the man's subjective beleif was given more credence than the woman's subjective believe on the matter. Even more unconscionable, is the fact that a husband, as late as 1995, could be found not to have commited rape of his wife. The case of C.R. v. The United Kingdom shows this, see http://www.womenslinkworldwide.org/co_reg_echr_cr.html
or, see also http://www.womenslinkworldwide.org/co_reg_echr_sw.html
The idea that a husband could not rape a wife comes down through the ages from the ancient belief that a wife was her husband's property. The legal principle that a woman was a separate being from her husband was not established until 1882 in England by the Married Women's Property Act - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Married_Women's_Property_Act
Even though UK law has supported the right of a wife to obtain an abortion, even if her husband does not want the abortion to occur, it has done so not because it finds the woman has a right to make her own decisions, but because the fetus does not have rights until it is born and the father has no right to control this action of another. The court made no determination of a woman's right to select whether to carry or not carry a child. The fact that court did not state the woman had her own right to decide, but instead based its decision on the lack of the fetus to have rights, denies women the right to choose for themselves and treats them as not having legal personality (although the courts say they do). See http://www.womenslinkworldwide.org/co_reg_echr_paton.html
You will note that anti-abortion groups discuss the rights of the fetus, but never the right of the woman to prevent her body from carrying an unwanted child. Read http://www.theinterim.com/2006/july/08howtochip.html
Where a party changes their gender, or wishes to change their gender, UK law has gone through a transformation. Once a gender change, although medically possible, did not alter the realities of the gender at birth for a person. That changed, as the UK began to grant rights to transexuals. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_aspects_of_transsexualism#United_Kingdom
By providing transexuals these rights, the UK has granted them standing to be treated as persons whose rights must be respected and who have valid claims to make against those who refuse to respect their rights to life, liberty, property, and their names.
Legal Personality and Age
For the purpose of determining when a child is liable for criminal responsibility or for liabiliyt for any accidents they cause the law has long set boundaries. For criminal acts, for example, in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America there exists a rebuttable presumption that children between 7 and 12 or 14 years of age cannot form the required mental intent to commit a crime. See http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/bulletin/bulletin_1985-01-01_2_page020.html
Also along those lines the Anti-Social Behaviour Order Act has declared that a child under 10 is not to be held liable for anti-social acts. In fact, the parents of a child who has received an Order for anti-social behavior are the ones who are liable for the actions of their child if the child again repeats a behavior or acts anti-socially - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_and_Disorder_Act_1998
As discussed above under abortion, note that while a fetus does not have a right to life before it is born, it is this fact, not that fact that a woman can have rights to abort of her own will, that determines a woman's right to abort. Given that fact, it can be argued that a fetus has the right to determine whether a woman can abort it. This is supported by laws which base the right to abortion on the age of the fetus. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_the_United_Kingdom
Legal Personality and Religion
At what point does the right of the individual to make religious choices for him or herself become a danger to the public so that such right must be terminated? Recently many laws have been passed in France, Germany, and England to prevent the wearing of head coverings by those who are Muslim and the fight to prevent the building of a large Mosque in England - see http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/front/map/uk.html
It is interesting that such actions are occuring now, yet during WWII it cannot be said the Italians or Germans recieved such treatment from the English or other UK members.
The battle going on now between UK muslims and non-muslims is reminscent of the battle between catholics and protestants that dominated England from the 1500 through to the 1700s. The right to defend home and land was removed from many catholics and protestants, depending on the monarch in power.
Legal personality determines and establishes the patterns which help determine the rights, duties, and powers of persons. Minority groups, be they minorities due to age, gender, religion, or other classifications, are not able to control their own destinies until the law recognizes them as having the right to exist and make demands on others.