Posted on 11. November 2009 in European Transgender Council

More than 200 transgender activists from 5 continents came together from May 2nd – 4th for the 2nd European Transgender Council `Make Human Rights Work´ at Rathaus Schöneberg (Schöneberg Town Hall) Berlin. Participants came from 83 groups and 38 countries: in addition to almost all western, southern and northern European countries the list also includes – among others – Russia, USA, Peru, Japan, Namibia, Kyrgyzstan, the Ukraine, Israel, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Georgian Republic, Serbia, Iceland, Romania, Croatia, and Belarus.

Human rights issues, anti-discrimination legislation and an exchange of experiences on an international level were the central concerns of the Council. The first comprehensive study of the legal rights situation and experience of health care of transgender people in Europe (2007, Press for Change, TGEU, ILGA Europe) was presented for the first time at the Council. The Study shows that transgender people continue to face massive violations of their human rights in most European states. These include for example the legal requirement that surgery to alter primary and secondary sexual characteristics, which of necessity also includes compulsory sterilisation, must be carried out before a person has the legal right to change the forename in five EU States. In 9 EU States these surgeries are preconditions for changing the legal sex.

In the coming years, activists working under the flag of the international NGO Transgender Europe (TGEU) will intensify their existing campaign against the violation of human rights of transgender people. To do so, TGEU will strengthen its cooperation with ILGA Europe, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, ILGA World (Trans Secretariat) and Amnesty International. The `Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in Relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity´, ratified in 2006 are important instruments for this political work.

Global networks are being planned as new tools to achieve these political aims.

The `Transgender Europe Research Network´ is to serve the purpose of bringing together scientists and scholars whether transgender or not, who are working on the subject of transgender into an international network, and to continue to research the living conditions of transgender people worldwide. A `Transgender Europe International Media Network´ will link journalists internationally and perform public relations work.

Despite much scientific controversy, forms of transgender continue to be listed in the DSM IV of the American Psychological Association (APA), just as homosexuality once was, and in the ICD-10 of the World Health Organization (WHO) as psychological disorders. DSM and ICD are guideline manuals used in healthcare to standardise the definitions of what constitutes mental illness. Transgender Europe (TGEU) emphatically refuses this pathologisation and will assist the next reformulation of the DSM in a critical manner, when this is carried out in 2011.

At the plenary meeting of Transgender Europe (TGEU) on 4.5. a new Executive Board and a new Steering Committee were elected, with representatives from Denmark, Germany, England, Ireland and Italy. The new President of the Organisation is Stephen Whittle, PhD, Professor of Equalities Law, Manchester Metropolitan University, President of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH, USA) and Vicepresident of Press for Change (PfC, UK).

Impressions from the Council

All pictures by Anja Weber


See more pictures here

 “Glamour without Borders”

The Council would not have been the same without the fantastic party Wigstöckel United had organized for the Council. Get an idea of the magic atmosphere and the wodnerful show we enjoyed. Thank you!

See more pictures here

Listen to the Council

Artist Nino Jaeger took interviews with people at the tgeu council in berlin in 2008 and made a radio show about the topic “trans* people and work experiences”.

This is a radio show by Nino Jaeger about work and people who call themselves transgender or transsexuals or left the sex and gender binary-system and refuse to think themselves in certain categories. Regarding sex and gender Jaeger uses the definition of Kate Bornstein -she says: “Sex is fucking and gender is everything else.”

Here you can listen to the radio show.

The show is mostly in english with some german and “4” words spanish:
See the different “buttons” with symbols for streaming or downloading this radio show.

Nino Jaeger



Many thanks to all the Berlin-based groups and individuals who united to organize the Council, including, among others, the Transgender Network Berlin (TGNB), TransInterQueer (TrIQ), Wigstöckel − Transgender United and TIA M.

We are grateful to the Mayor of Schöneberg, Herr Ekkehard Band, for his support and for making the facilities of the Rathaus Schöneberg (Schöneberg Town Hall) available to us for the 2nd European Transgender Council 2008 (see his Greeting) and to our cooperation partner the Berlin Senate Coordinating Centre against Discrimination.

Also, we want to thank the following institutions for their support without which the 2nd European Transgender Council would not have been possible:

Berlin Senate Department for Integration, Employment and Social Issues, Coordinating Centre against Discrimination, Office for Gay and Lesbian Issues