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New Report on Trans Parents and Freedom of Movement in the EU

TGEU spoke with 18 trans parents from across Europe, who shared their grief, anxiety, and fear for their own safety when travelling. But mostly, they were concerned about their children. We would like to thank all the parents who contributed to this publication by sharing their experiences.

TGEU’s research found that trans parents and their families face serious barriers when it comes to moving safely and freely across the European Union.

“My worst fear is that they wouldn’t believe I’m the parent, that we would get separated and there would be no quick solution, and I wouldn’t know what to do. I also worry that I’d need to have these awful conversations in front of my child.”

– Bruno, Germany

In the EU LGBTQI Equality Strategy (2020-2025), the European Commission highlighted with concern that there are, “specific difficulties preventing LGBTIQ people and their families from enjoying their rights” and that, “when these families travel or move to other Member States, there is sometimes a risk of children’s link to their LGBTIQ parent(s) being severed, which may have an impact on the children’s rights.”

To address these concerns, the European Commission committed to a number of targeted actions. These include, for instance, reviewing their 2009 guidelines to facilitate the exercise of free movement for all families, ensuring the application of cross-border family law with regard to rainbow families, and supporting Member States’ efforts to uphold respect for rainbow families’ rights.

The experiences of trans parents in the area of free movement are very much influenced by the national laws of Member States, including legal gender recognition, access to reproductive health and rights, and partnership and parenthood recognition.

“We have the right to free movement. To just have a life, travel, see our family. But my kids don’t have any documents besides their birth certificate. I can’t travel with them, can’t go on holidays with them. We are just stuck here.”

– Yanis, Romania/UK

The report includes messages from trans parents and a set of key recommendations to support the European Commission in fulfilling the commitments laid out in the EU LGBTQI Equality Strategy (2020-2025). Among others, TGEU urges the Commission to ensure the exercise of free movement rights for all families and to eliminate the specific barriers faced by trans parents and their children. TGEU also advocates for mutual recognition of partnerships, parenthood, and civil status documents between Member States.