Today, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks published a Human Rights comment LGBTI children have the right to safety and equality. The Commissioner is concerned about the high levels of bullying and harassment LGBTI children face and stresses that all children have the right to be free from violence.
Focusing on trans and intersex minors he points out their right to self-determination:
“Trans and intersex children encounter specific obstacles when exercising their right to self-determination. As minors, trans adolescents can find it difficult to access trans-specific health and support services while intersex children are often subjected to irreversible “normalising” treatments soon after birth without their consent. The legal recognition of trans and intersex children’s sex or gender remains a huge hurdle in most countries. Children are rights-holders and they must be listened to in decision-making that concerns them. Sex or gender assigning treatment should be based on fully informed consent.”
According to Muiznieks it is in the best interest of the child to obtain un-biased information about sexual and gender diversity. Whereas, there is no evidence that dissemination of information advocating a positive attitude towards LGBTI people would adversely affect children.
Transgender Europe welcomes this strong call for the protection of a very vulnerable group, that is dealing with a myriad of issues. Homelessness and expulsion from their families is a risk many young trans people face. Also, they are not only affected by harassment but also face service denial in crucial areas such as health. Trans-specific medical treatments are often only available for adults, leaving underage trans people at great levels of distress and suffering.
“Still, 43 states in Europe deny young persons their right to self-determination, by having no gender recognition procedures or making them available only to adults. Having one’s gender identity officially recognized positively impacts young trans people’s social inclusion, well-being and school performance. We welcome the Commissioner’s call for gender recognition procedures that are considerate of young trans persons. To have a say in all matters that concern a young person is a human right as defined under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.” explains Richard Köhler, TGEU Senior Policy Officer.
“This also extends to respecting young trans people’s choice of name, pronouns and gendered facilities. Educational and other professional institutions should adjust their routines to support and protect young trans people and their families.” says TGEU co-chair Alecs Recher:
“Because, trans children are only happy children once their rights to education, health, family and self-determination are a reality.”
Transgender Europe is a European human rights NGO working for the human rights and equality of all trans people. More Information: www.tgeu.org
Transgender or Trans is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity or expression differs from the sex assigned to them at birth.
TGEU Senior Policy Officer Richard Köhler is available for interviews and questions and can be reached at:
phone: +49 (0)30 5360 2668