Posted on 23. February 2015 in Press

Press Statement

For immediate release

Transgender Europe Calls for a Stop to the Nightmare of Legal Gender Recognition in 34 Countries in Europe

Berlin, 23 February 2015

Today, Transgender Europe (TGEU) calls attention to the fact that 34 countries in Europe still do not allow trans people to change their legal name and gender without having to undergo humiliating and abusive procedures. With the release of a new video on legal gender recognition, TGEU demands action to reform gender recognition laws in Europe.

TGEU’s new 2-minute campaign video portrays the nightmare scenario that most trans people still face today when trying to legally change their name and gender, namely being forced to undergo sterilisation, divorce, or a diagnosis of mental illness, despite not being mentally ill.

As a result of these humiliating procedures, many trans people are not able, or refuse, to change their legal name and gender. This means that they have passports and other identity documents that don’t match their identity and appearance. When asked to prove their identity, for example when travelling, opening a bank account, or renting an apartment, trans people may be forced to come out as trans, accused of being a fraud, and become vulnerable to humiliation, discrimination and violence.

It is not a surprise therefore that 73% of trans people in the EU think that better legal gender recognition laws, that allow them to change their name and gender more easily, would allow them to live more comfortably.

In 2014, several countries have implemented or announced changes to their procedures, including Denmark and Malta. However, 34 countries in Europe still do not allow for the recognition of a trans person’s gender identity without invasive and abusive requirements that violate human rights, such as forced sterilisation, divorce or diagnosis of mental illness.

“Trans people have a right to access all areas of society, and we have a right to quick, transparent and accessible gender recognition procedures.” says TGEU Executive Director Julia Ehrt: “States across Europe continue to violate trans people’s rights by holding on to inhumane practices. Without ID documents matching their gender identity, trans people are denied a life in dignity and respect.”

The video marks the one year anniversary of TGEU’s “Access All Areas! Recognition Opens Doors” campaign on legal gender recognition, which calls upon European governments to introduce quick, transparent and accessible gender recognition legislation.

The video is available in English, with subtitles in most European languages.




Watch the video here:

Learn more about TGEU’s work on legal gender recognition:

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

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

For interviews and questions contact:

TGEU’s Senior Policy Officer, Richard Köhler:


phone: +49 (0)177 65 31 518

TGEU’s Capacity Building Officer, Noah Keuzenkamp:


phone: +49 (0)30 5360 2669 / +49 (0)151 711 595 39