TGEU attends EU Conference “Equality between women and men” (19-20 Sept 2011, Brussels)
19-20 Sept 2011, Brussels
TGEU participated in the European Commission Conference “Equality between women and men” on Sept 19-20 2011 in Brussels amongst some 400 other stakeholders.
Co-chairs, Julia Ehrt and Richard Köhler had been invited as the EU strategy “Equality between women and men” (2010-2015) promises to explore effective protection from discrimination on the grounds of gender identity. However, the conference itself did not address gender identity issues per se, as well as other “side topics”, such as poverty, multiple discrimination etc. Dominating topics were the economic crisis, the gender pay gap and how women can help the EU achieve its economic goals.
Presentations from intra-governmental and international organizations dominated perspective and debate of the conference leaving little space for a dialogue with the audience. TGEU used the rare opportunity of floor-interventions to address that the invisibility of trans in society was once more repeated in the conference. Co-Chair Julia Ehrt illustrated with the conference’s poster that trans people fall between the crack when it comes to European gender equality politics. In a separate session “dignity, integrity and ending gender-based violence” the necessity was presented to work towards a joint definition and understanding of “gender-based violence”.
The also presented Convention on combating violence against women and domestic violence – CAHVIO, for instance, is a good example to be trans-aware and inclusive. The convention includes trans people in its protection scheme. TGEU addressed the fact that nearly everybody who is visible as transgender faces discrimination and violence in public and in private. Impunity encourages perpetrators of transphobic acts. Therefore, a strong political response is needed to mark that trans people enjoy protection of their human rights in the EU. Though marking an important step, trans aware and inclusive politics are not made on big conferences – at least not yet.