Archive for the 'Europe' Category

(Trans)Gender Equality?: A public conference on transgender rights hosted by the Greens/EFA, Brussels, 1 September 2010

July 15, 2010

The European Parliament has announced the details of (Trans)Gender Equality? a joint public conference on transgender rights, hosted jointly by the Greens and the European Free Alliance, to be held in Brussels on 1 September 2010.

The full programme is available here; and if you wish to attend you must register online by 26 August 2010.

(Click image for full-size PDF poster)

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Germany: Green Party’s draft proposal for a new name/gender change law

July 13, 2010

Via Justus Eisfeld, co-director of GATE – Global Action for Trans* Equality, I learn that Volker Beck of the German Green party has recently introduced a proposal for a new name/gender change law to the German Bundestag (national parliament). Please remember that this is only a proposal; it’s possible that it will not become law as the Green party is a minority party in the German parliament, and not part of the current government coalition.

However, it makes interesting reading, not least because the focus is on the identity of the person and, as Justus says:

[…] no ‘proof’ of (gender) identity from outside sources is needed. It also does away with long court procedures and waiting times, and leaves open the possibility to change ‘back’ if needed.

Links to PDF copies of the complete proposal document can be found at the foot of this blog post, but the main points are as follows:

Part 1
Changing of Forenames

Section 1 – Application for a Change of Forename

(1) The forenames of a person shall, upon their application, be changed by the authorities responsible for civil status matters under Land law if

1. the said person declares that the forenames hitherto borne do not conform with their perception of their gender,

2. the said person

a) is German as defined by the Basic Law,
b) is a stateless person or a displaced foreign national with their habitual abode in Germany,
c) is a person entitled to asylum or a foreign refugee with their habitual abode in Germany, or
d) a foreign national from a country which has no provisions comparable to this Act in its national law, who
     aa) has a right of unlimited residence, or
     bb) has a residence permit which may be extended, and who is permanently and legally resident in Germany.

(2) For a person without legal capacity, the application shall be submitted by the legal representative. The legal representative shall require the permission of the Guardianship Court for this purpose.

(3) The application may be rejected only if it is manifestly abusive.

Section 2 – Prohibition of Disclosure

(1) Upon the entry into force of the decision by which the applicant’s forenames are changed, the forenames borne at the time of the decision may not be researched or disclosed without the applicant’s consent unless particular reasons of public interest so require or a legitimate interest is credibly asserted.

(2) The applicant may require that the new forenames be used in official documents and registers. Other gender-specific details, in particular the form of address, gender-specific job or professional titles, and references to kinship shall be adapted to the gender which corresponds to the changed forename if this does not affect the informational value and accuracy of the document content.

(3) For contracts under civil law, paragraph 2 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(4) Official documents and certificates from previous employment relationships issued prior to the entry into force of the decision adopted pursuant to Section 1 shall be re-issued with the new forenames.

(5) An administrative offence shall be deemed to have been committed by anyone who persistently and purposely disregards the prohibitions and obligations set forth in paragraphs 1 to 4. The administrative offence may be punished with a fine of up to five hundred euros.

Part 2
Determination of Gender Identity

Section 3 – Application for the Determination of Gender Identity

(1) A person’s gender as stated in their registration of birth shall, upon their application, be amended by the authorities responsible for civil status matters under Land law, if

1. the said person declares that the gender stated in the registration of birth does not conform with their perception of their gender,
2. the provisions of Section 1, paragraph 1, no. 2 are fulfilled.

(2) For a person without legal capacity, the application shall be submitted by the legal representative. The legal representative shall require the permission of the Guardianship Court for this purpose.

(3) The application may be rejected only if it is manifestly abusive.

(4) An existing marriage or registered partnership shall remain unaffected by the amendment of the civil status. Upon the application of both spouses/registered partners, an existing marriage may be converted into a registered partnership or vice versa.

Section 4 – Effects of the Decision

(1) Upon the entry into force of the decision that the applicant shall be considered as belonging to the other gender, their gender-dependent rights and obligations shall conform to the new gender unless the law states otherwise.

(2) Section 2 shall apply mutatis mutandis. The prohibition of disclosure shall extend to the details concerning gender identity contained in the documents to be amended and to combinations of letters or numerals that are derived from gender; such details and combinations of letters or numerals shall also be amended.

Section 5 – Parent-Child Relationships

The decision that the applicant shall be considered as belonging to the other gender shall not affect the legal relationship between the applicant and their parents or the relationship between the applicant and their children. The same shall apply in relation to the descendants of these children.

Section 6 – Pensions and Comparable Recurrent Benefits

(1) Upon its entry into force, the decision that the applicant shall be considered as belonging to the other gender shall not affect existing entitlement to pensions and comparable recurrent benefits. Benefits which derive directly from the same legal relationship, to the extent that gender is relevant, shall continue to be assessed on the basis on which the said benefits were provided at the time the decision entered into force.

(2) The decision that the applicant shall be considered as belonging to the other gender shall not give rise to claims to benefits from the insurance or pensions of a former spouse.

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PDF copies of the proposal document in either the original German language version, or as translated into English by the parliamentary translation service of the German Bundestag, may be downloaded directly from these links:

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Justus adds that the document may be freely used in any and all lobbying activities around name/gender marker changes.

Comments that I’ve seen so far in discussions about the draft proposal include:

  1. The phrase “The application may be rejected only if it is manifestly abusive” could be used as a way to prevent what might be perceived as ‘too many’ applications to move back and forth between names/genders. It has been suggested that there should be some sort of formal record (perhaps an affidavit) to deter anyone who wishes to change their legal sex either to take advantage of, or make a mockery of, the proposed system.
  2. Although there is no explicit mention of intersex people, the definition of trans people given on advocacy sites such as TGEU does include intersex:

    Trans people (as used above) includes those people who have a gender identity which is
    different to the gender assigned at birth and those people who wish to portray their gender identity in a different way to the gender assigned at birth. It includes those people who feel they have to, or prefer or choose to, whether by clothing, accessories, cosmetics or body modification, present themselves differently to the expectations of the gender role assigned to them at birth. This includes, among many others, transsexual and transgender people, transvestites, cross dressers, no gender, multigender, genderqueer people, including intersex and gender variant people who relate to or identify as any of the above.

    I’m well aware that some intersex people do not consider intersex to be a gender identity – intersex is intersex is a maxim which I’m familiar with – but given that this definition includes intersex people, I hope that it would also apply to the proposal above.

European Parliament briefing note on transgender rights

July 9, 2010

European Parliament logoThe European Parliament has released an internal note on transgender people’s rights in the European Union.

The document is freely accessible on the website of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights – here’s the direct link to the PDF – and here’s the direct link to a copy of the PDF held locally on this blog in case the external link should become unavailable.

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Curtsey to Bruno of the LGBT Intergroup for the heads-up

Irish Government withdraws challenge on trans recognition

June 21, 2010

Via RTÉ News:

Lydia Foy (Image via Irish Times)The Government has dropped its challenge to a High Court declaration that Irish law on transgender rights is in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Government must now introduce legislation recognising the new gender of transgender persons and allowing them to obtain new birth certificates or it will face condemnation from the European Court of Human Rights.

Dr Lydia Foy, a transgendered woman registered at birth as a male who had challenged Irish law on this matter, today welcomed the Government’s decision saying it finally marked an end to her 13-year battle for recognition as a woman.

The Government has withdrawn its appeal to the Supreme Court and has set up an inter-departmental group to advise the Minister for Social Protection on the legislation required.

The Free Legal Advice Centre welcomed the Government’s decision, which it described as significant and groundbreaking.

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Edited to add: Press Release from the Transgender Equality Network Ireland:

Transgender Equality Network Ireland strongly welcomes the announcement today of the State’s official withdrawal of its appeal against the Supreme Court’s declaration of incompatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights in the case of Dr. Lydia Foy v An t-Ard Chláraitheoir & Others.

This will bring to a close the 13 year long legal battle which Dr. Foy had to initiate following the Register General’s refusal to issue Dr. Foy with a new birth certificate that would recognise her preferred gender.

“Today’s announcement is an important step forward by the Irish State”, said Carol-Anne O’Brien of TENI “It will bring Irish law closer to EU norms and it contributes to the human rights of transgender people in Ireland.”

Carol-Anne O’Brien said: “TENI would like to take this opportunity to warmly congratulate Dr Foy on her victory. Dr. Foy’s courage and tenacity has won an important achievement for all within Ireland’s trans and wider LGBTQ community.”

Martine Cuypers of TENI added: “TENI urges the government to act quickly to honour the commitments given in the current Programme for Government to bring forward Gender Recognition legislation”.

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European Parliament says the EU should do more for trans people’s rights

June 17, 2010

European Parliament logoThis Press Release via the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights:

Today [17 June 2010] the European Parliament adopted a strong position in favour of safeguarding transgender people’s fundamental rights. The Parliament officially acknowledged discrimination on grounds of gender identity, calls for accessible gender reassignment procedures, and insists future EU gender equality initiatives should address issues linked to gender identity and gender reassignment.

The Figueiredo report (final version in preparation at the time of writing) evaluating the European Union’s 2006-2010 Roadmap for equality between women and men was adopted today, and calls for more explicit measures to combat discrimination based on gender identity. In particular, the report:

  • acknowledges discrimination and multiple discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and/or gender identity;
  • calls on EU authorities to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organisations in future work on gender equality;
  • stresses that gender reassignment procedures should be made accessible, including through public health insurance schemes; and
  • requires that future EU actions in the field of gender equality explicitly cover issues linked to gender identity and gender reassignment.

[…]

The report has been welcomed by Ulrike Lunacek and Michael Cashman MEPs (Co-presidents of the Intergroup on LGBT Rights), and by Raül Romeva i Rueda MEP, Vice-president of the LGBT Intergroup and Member of the Greens/European Free Alliance.

Apparently, the European Commission will need to take this report into account when planning future actions in the field of gender equality.

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Curtsey to Justus Eisfeld for the heads-up

Turkey: Life sentences demanded for alleged murderer of three women

June 7, 2010

Turkish flagA couple of months ago I wrote about the consecutive murders of three women in İzmir, one of whom, Azra, was one of the first members of Siyah Pembe, which the local İzmir government has been trying to shut down. A cis man, originally identified only by his initials (H.A.) was arrested on suspicion of carrying out the shootings, and the murder trial looks to be coming to a head.

Life sentences demanded for alleged murderer

A prosecutor has demanded three life sentences and 45 years in prison for a suspected murderer who killed two women and a transvestite in İzmir in April.

Hamdi Ayrı confessed to killing three people in İzmir and said he murdered them for money, also admitting that he doesn’t trust women. Police caught Ayrı in a hostel in Muğla’s Bodrum district, where he fled after committing the murders.

An indictment prepared by a prosecutor stated that when he was arrested a fake identity card, TL 645 in cash, a gun, newspaper clips about the murders and a photograph of the transvestite he killed were found. It was also stated in the indictment that the killer used the same 7.65 mm handgun in all three murders according to a ballistics examination by police.

The prosecutors seek three life sentences for the murders along with 45 years in prison for stealing and possession of an unregistered gun. The suspect will stand trial at the 7th High Criminal Court in İzmir.

Via Today’s Zaman

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Previous posts in the category Turkey:

Albania: Two women knifed and beaten by a gang of cis men then denied hospital treatment

June 3, 2010

Trigger warning: The following Press Release from aleancalgbt (The Alliance Against Discrimination Against LGBT People) describes a violent attack carried out on two trans women in Albania and contains graphic descriptions of violence which some readers may find upsetting.

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aleancalgbt logo and link to websiteIt is particuarly distressing to note that, following the attacks, hospital staff first refused to treat the victims, relenting only after protests by relatives – and then only providing medical care in a “degrading and offensive” manner. This is simply unacceptable – as is the Albanian media’s apparent misgendering of the two women and the fact that such misgendering happens by default in the mass media around the world (cf the coverage of the recent trial of Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza in Malawi) does not justify such a fundamental denial of the basic right to respect for a person’s self-identity.

Tirana police intervened yesterday after a violent attack with discriminatory tones, against two transgender persons in Tirana, arresting several men as aggressors while they followed, insulted and threatened with knives two transgender people at 10 o’clock at night, in central Tirana.

One of the knifed transgender was caused wounds in the body and other cracks in the head. Both were taken to the emergency room of the Military Hospital in Tirana by police officers, and were accompanied by relatives and witnesses.

The Alliance against Discrimination of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender strongly condemns these violent discriminatory crimes, and urges the Albanian citizens to take a stand against these violations committed because of hate.

According to contacts of the Alliance deriving from acquaintances of the attacked persons, the aggressors were a group of men, who intentionally followed the victims to insult and beat them.

The Alliance regretfully recalls that similar crimes have happened in the past and that the investigations of these crimes did not take note of homophobia motives. It is of utmost importance, also in light of the recent coming into force of the Anti-Discrimination Law, that the police also investigate the possibility of this being a hate-crime rather than feeding a pattern of impunity of such crimes.

Many of the crimes against transgender people are motivated by discrimination and carried out by people who justify clean violence against those who are different from the male and female stereotypes. The Alliance refuses to condone violence and condemns any kind of attack, directed to each Albanian citizen, no matter how diverse is their appearance or sexual orientation.

The Alliance has received testimonies of people who were present during the attack and during the delivery of one of transgender to the Military Hospital. It has been reported by persons present that the hospital aid was denied to the victims with knife wounds. Only after the insistence of relatives of the victim, hospital doctors have agreed to take measures for the transgender, but giving her the degrading and offensive treatment.

The Alliance is distressed, touched and feels indignation by the way the hospital staff has refused to help the victim of the attack, breaking the state law, the MD code and any human moral code.

The Alliance also calls to the Albanian print and electronic media to break the pattern of discriminatory treatment and belittling of such issues. The Alliance observes that the media have also not given appropriate weight to the homophobic drive of such acts and encourages them to do so. The media has a very important role in raising public awareness of homophobia and the equal rights of the LGBT community.

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Curtsey to Richard for the heads-up

Turkey: EU funding approved for project for the promotion of human rights for sex workers and transgender people

June 1, 2010

Via Hürriyet Daily News:

Turkey and EU flagsThirteen democratization projects worth more than 1.5 million euros have been approved by the European Union within the framework of Turkey’s EU membership bid.

Project themes range from social justice to social inclusion to protection human rights. They are aimed at including nongovernmental actors in raising public awareness and helping initiate the necessary reforms.

The project awarded the most funding is titled “Promotion of Human Rights for Sex Workers and Transgender people” with a grant worth 140,000 euros. The projects have already been launched and will last on average 16 months.

The funding comes with the legislation of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, or EIDHR, which is managed by the Section for Institution Building and Civil Society at the Delegation of the European Union to Turkey, or EUD.

[…]

A significant rise in EU-project funding has been noticed during recent years as a result of Turkey’s accession bid.

[…]

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Being transgender in Belgium: Mapping the social and legal situation of transgender people

May 30, 2010

IVGM logoVia email from the Institute for the Equality of Women and Men (IGVM), news of the publication of one of the few comprehensive large-scale research works undertaken anywhere on the situation of trans people in one country:

The research report Being transgender in Belgium gives an overview of the social and legal situation of transgender people in Belgium. The aim of this research was to map the discrimination and inequalities in practice, policy and legislation faced by transgender people. The research consisted of various phases, each with a specific methodological approach: a detailed literature review exploring terminology, prevalence, social position in various spheres of life and the legal position; an extensive online survey aimed at transgender people, followed by focus groups; a case study relating to the position of transgender people at the ground level. The research results are translated into policy recommendations in the concluding section of the report.

The brochure can be downloaded via the website of the Institute for the equality of women and men (go to Publicaties/Publications > Transgender/Transgenres), or can be ordered in print. It is also available in Dutch and French.

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Direct link to a copy of the 205 page (1.8 MB) PDF file cached on this site)

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Curtsey to Geraldine at IGVM for the heads-up

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Cross-posted at Questioning Transphobia

*UPDATE* IDAHOt: violence against Turkish trans people

May 18, 2010

Pembe Hayat (Pink Life LGBTT Solidarity Association) has issued a press release (in Turkish, link here) about yesterday’s harassment of 5 trans people by Turkish police. KaosGL, too, has issued a press release about the incident (also in Turkish, link here).

And via email from a friend in Turkey:

Police Brutally Attacked Transgenders in Ankara

Transgenders who are members of Pink Life Association were arrested after being brutally beaten up in Ankara. On the night of May 17th, in Esat district, Ankara police brutally attacked and dragged 5 transgenders to the Esat Police Station.

Police’s response to those who called the station was “Why do you care about these? Mind your own work.” 5 trangender individuals were kept at the station till morning.

Arrested 5 transgenders were later taken to medical jurisprudence as a result of insisting demand of Pink Life and Kaos GL members and after lawyers showed up at the police station. After medical jurisprudence controls, 5 transgenders were again taken to the police station, where they were released at 06:00.

Here is Pink Life’s description of the police attacks:

On Baglar Street and infront of Seyranbaglari Post Office, police cars were pulled in front of the private cars of transgenders. When they refused to get out of the car, they have asked for a car wrecker. When the incident were heard by other people, the crowd grew bigger. Then the police used pepper spray and cudgels to break the crowd. Then they have taken Buse Kilickaya, Derya (Selay) Tunc, Turkan, Eser and Yesim who were in the car to the police station.

Last time we have seen our friends, we could see blood coming out of their mouths and noses of our friends. The polices later moved us -nearly 50 members of Pink Life and Kaos GL- away from the police station.

Arrested transgenders were released at 06:00!

At around 03:00, lawyer Hakan Yıldırım stated that the 5 transgenders would be taken first to the medical jurisprudence and then brought back to the police station. The arrests were ended at 06:00.

Pink Life Association will be protesting the brutal attacks and arrests of 5 transgenders today (May 18th) at 18:00 in front of the Human Rights Monument on Yuksel Street.

Pink Life’s release:

End the Police Violence!

Transphobic State, Get Your Hands Off Of Us!

The car of 5 transgender activists from Pink Life Association was stopped by the police cars on the night of May 17th at around 23:00 on Baglar Street and in front of Seyranbağlari Post Office.

Despite the fact that they have shown their personal identification cards, they were brutally gotten out of their cars for no specific reason. By cudgels and pepper spray, police attacked nearly 25 LGBT rights activists by who came to help the trans friends who were resisting.

After the group was dispersed, the 5 transgenders were forcibly pulled out of their cars and brutally attacked by cudgels and kicks.

We will gather for a sit-down protest in front of the Human Rights Monument on Yuksel Street at 18:00 on May 18 for our trans friends who were exposed to discriminatory violence and hate. We will protest the transphobic state’s violence with our candles.

We are calling all to unite for our human rights!

Trans people won’t stay silent! We won’t stay silent to the violence!

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ETA, 18 May 2010

Via Press Release from the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights:

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-president of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Rights, declared: “Like homophobia, transphobia is not acceptable anywhere, be it inside or outside the European Union. We call for a serious investigation into these acts, and their outright condemnation by police authorities!”

Michael Cashman MEP, Co-president of the Intergroup on LGBT Rights, further added: “How can Turkey claim to be a true democracy if police forces disregard the rule of law, and attack those it must protect? We call on Turkish authorities to reprimand these police officers, and clearly affirm that LGBT people, and in particular transgender people, must be protected from violence.”

The European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights strongly condemns the attacks, and will further seek to include mentions of these breaches of human rights by authorities in accession talks between the European Union and Turkey.

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