Posted on 24. June 2015 in Work with Institutions

TGEU Co-Chair Arja Voipio spoke today at the European Parliament about the need of the European Union to adopt a comprehensive LGBTI action plan with a strong focus on trans people. Also, future EU gender equality policy should have trans issues at heart, since transphobia and misogyny share same root causes. She reminded present parliamentarians and representatives of EU institutions that the EU should encourage and support member states to improve legal gender recognition procedures. Freedom of movement remains often an illusion for trans people, as having ID documents reflecting their gender identity is either not possible or hinges on giving up other human rights.

Voipio urged the European Commission to continue to work for the depathologisation of trans people in the reform of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). The EU should help member states to understand the issues at stake. She warned that a proposed diagnosis for pre-puberty children could potentially be harmful without bringing medical added value. She reminded that access to health care can be a matter of live and death for some trans people.

She told the audience also that a change of attitude is often all it takes. However, this is most of time not easy to achieve. Therefore, the EU should scale up its efforts in research, publications and give more positive visibility to trans people. Also, member states should develop national action plans to tackle the problems in a consistent manner.

Maltese Minister for Civil Liberties Helena Dalli introduced the newly adopted Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act, explaining that it aims to meet all human rights standards set by the Council of Europe as well as trans and intersex civil society.

Sophie Aujean, ILGA-Europe Senior Officer, praised the intersex community’s recent growth, but criticised the lack of resources as a danger to the sustainability of this young movement. She asked the lawmakers to educate themselves, reach out to intersex activists and deploy their perspectives in policy making wherever possible.

Isabelle de la Mata, Principal Advisor on Public Health at the Health Directorate (DG Sanco), announced that the Commission will collect views of trans people and service providers in an up-coming study on lgbti persons’ experiences of inequality in health care. She also gave an update on the ICD-reform, reminding about the published Beta version and the possibility to provide feedback to the suggested diagnoses.

Members of the European Parliament Ian Duncan, Miriam Dalli, Sirpa Pietikäinen and Soraya Post spoke passionately about the need to tackle the human rights violations trans and intersex people face still within Europe and the wider world.

The LGBTI Intergroup of the European Parliament had organized the event to explore together with MEPs, policy makers and civil society how to move forward from the Maltese best practice example and advance the rights of trans and intersex people on the national, European and international level.