Posted on 26. June 2014 in Press, Stigma & Backlash, Work with Institutions

Juncker mocks trans people – Unacceptable Statement by Candidate for top EU Job

25 June 2014

TGEU Press Statement  

TGEU is irritated about discriminatory comments of Claude Juncker, candidate for the top job of leading the EU Commission.  Asked about his prospects as the future EU Commission president, Claude Juncker said yesterday in Berlin he would not know who he is or who he will become, asking to pardon his “political transsexuality”. The audience, according to ZEIT, mainly the high level management of the german defence industries, was starkly amused about his comments.

It is shocking that a high-level politician like Claude Juncker is perpetuating stereotypes and misunderstandings against transgender persons. Trans people are often faced with the external assumption that they are confused or not able to make up their mind. The contrary is the case. To come out and be true to your inner self needs an extra-ordinary strength in a society hostile to transgressing gender norms.

It is sad that Claude Juncker is using trans people as a cheap punch line, revealing a complete lack of understanding for the issues at stake.

Trans people often face ridicule and disrespect on grounds of their gender identity. This is also closely related to the fact that they are over proportionally subjected to discrimination and violence. The Commission’s Discrimination Eurobarometer 2012 revealed that the overwhelming majority of EU citizens do not know a trans person and are ignorant about transgender discrimination.

Should Claude Juncker become head of the EU Commission, it will be among his duties to observe and support the efforts undertaken by the European Commission to combat this kind of stereotypes. The Commission’s Discrimination Eurobarometer 2012 revealed that the overwhelming majority of EU citizens do not know a trans person and are ignorant about transgender discrimination.

This kind of ‘mild mannered jokes’ are actually hurting feelings and create an atmosphere in which insulting a trans person is okay. Trans people and their families have to fight against a jungle of ridicule and disrespect on a daily level. We strongly encourage Mr. Juncker to challenge his own stereotypes on the issue and TGEU will be more than happy to provide guidance on how stereotypes can be effectively combated” says Julia Ehrt, TGEU Executive Director.

****ENDS***

Transgender Europe is a European human rights NGO working for the human rights and equality of all trans people. More Information: www.tgeu.org

Transgender or Trans is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity or expression differs from the sex assigned to them at birth.