The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will debate and vote on a resolution on the discrimination of transgender persons in Europe in its spring session (April 20-24, 2015). A related report has been adopted by the Equality and Non-Discrimination Committee on March 20.
The Committee denounces human rights violations trans people are exposed to, particularly violations of the right to private life and physical integrity of those who seek to have their gender legally recognized.
“Inter alia the conditions laid down in the relevant procedures often include sterilization, divorce, a diagnosis of mental illness, surgery and other medical treatments,” recalled the rapporteur Deborah Schembri (Malta, SOC).
The Committee proposes the introduction of fast legal gender recognition procedures, based on self-determination, which allow transgender people to change name and gender on birth certificates, identity cards, passports and similar documents.
The Committee also calls for the abolition of the legal obligation of sterilisation and removal of provisions restricting the right of transgender people to remain married. As for gender reassignment procedures, they should be made accessible to transgender people while ensuring reimbursement by public health insurance plans. Finally, it demands the explicit prohibition of discrimination based on gender identity in national legislation.
In regard to international efforts to depathologise trans people, the draft resolution calls to amend national and international classifications “making sure that transgender people, including children, are not labelled as mentally ill while ensuring stigma-free access to necessary medical treatment.”
The adopted report also addresses other areas of concern such as work, health, housing, stereotypes & prejeduices and transphobic crime & violence and public awareness raising and education.
The PACE-resolution would be the first of its kind addressing transgender issues specifically and comprehensively, after a 1989 Recommendation on the Situation of Transsexuals in Europe. Based on that recommendation many European countries initiated the introdcution of legal gender recognition procedures.
Download the draft resolution and report here.