Posted on 22. November 2012 in Press


Rejection and Unawareness:  Eurobarometer’s first findings on attitudes towards trans people


Transgender Europe – TGEU

Media Release


22nd November 2012, Nicosia, Cyprus

Europeans are unaware of trans people and reject them at great levels reveals the today published Eurobarometer. EU Commission vows to step up future actions for trans people and commemorates Transgender Day of Remembrance at the Equality Summit in Nicosia, Cyprus. Designated EU Health Commissioner pledges to fight for transgender people not being considered mentally ill.

The Eurobarometer revealed that only 8% of people in EU know a trans person personally and a striking 13% have no opinion on the prevalence of trans discrimination (compared with 8% for sexual orientation). In some countries up to a third would not know. 45% of people in the EU believe trans people are discriminated. The report points out that those knowing a trans person are much more likely to be aware of discrimination on grounds of gender identity.

While the report shows diversity in the public sphere is more accepted, people would be very uncomfortable with a trans person in the highest political office. Only a person over 75 years of age (5,4) would meet more antipathy than a transgender or transsexual elected official (5,7) on a scale from 1 to 10 (with 1 “totally uncomfortable” and 10 “totally comfortable”) on EU average.

The Discrimination Eurobarometer monitors the perception, attitudes, knowledge and awareness of discrimination and is published by the European Commission. This year’s publication includes for the first time the ground of gender identity allowing for a unique comparative overview on awareness towards transgender and transsexual persons in the 27 EU member states. The European Commission vowed that its future policy and activities would be guided by those findings.

Aurel Ciobanu Dordea, Director in the European Commission, also commemorated those who lost their lives due to transphobia or transphobic violence at the occasion of the Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th when presenting the research at the opening session of the Equality Summit 2012.

„We see striking similarities in structural barriers faced by trans people and persons with disabilities. However, unfortunately in comparison, the EU has no strategic approach on trans people yet. The EU has a role to play in this!“ said TGEU Executive Director Julia Ehrt at the EU Equality Summit today.

Concrete steps have also been promised by the nominated EU Health commissioner Tonio Borg. He pledged to fight transgender people being considered as mentally ill, specifically referring to a resolution of the European Parliament of September 2011 calling for an international non-pathologising reclassification of transgender identities.

“We welcome this research and commitment shown by the European Commission. The great level of unawareness call for an strategic approach by the EU towards trans equality. Political leadership on European level is necessary to win over hearts and minds,” comments TGEU Policy Officer Richard Köhler.




The Special Eurobarometer “Discrimination in the EU 2012” can be downloaded here:

Transgender Europe – TGEU is a European not-for-profit, umbrella organization, working towards the full equality and inclusion of all trans people in Europe.For more information contact TGEU Policy Officer Richard Köhler at Richard(at)