Posted on 12. November 2015 in Press

The Ukrainian Parliament passed today an anti-discrimination amendment to the labour code that outlaws inter alia gender identity discrimination. Transgender Europe (TGEU) welcomes this important step but calls also for further reforms to ensure trans people’s equality.

TGEU’s Co-chair and MLaw Alecs Recher comments:

“Congratulations to our Ukrainian fellow activists for their persistence leading to this important reform. Protection against discrimination in the workplace is not only a benefit for the LGBT community but for all, employers, employees and society at large.”

The legislation now prohibits discrimination at the work place on the basis of “race, colour, political, religious and other beliefs, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnic, social and foreign origin, age, health, disability, or suspected presence of HIV/AIDS, family and property status, family responsibilities, place of residence, or participation in a strike.”

The European Union had made the adoption of this amendment a pre-condition to free visa travel for Ukrainians to the EU. Parliamentarians had to vote six times, until the amendment was passed. In the end 234 delegates voted yes.

As Ukraine might adopt a new Labour Code, Recher continues: “Any future legislation needs to uphold the same high protection standards.”

However, a major stumbling block to trans people’s equal access to work remains: Ukraine having one of the worst legal gender recognition procedures in Europe. Cumbersome, expensive and lengthy, Order No 60 requires a stay of 30 – 45 days in a psychiatric ward, divorce and sterilisation. Other counter-indications to legal gender recognition are having a child below 18 years, being unemployed or simply disagreeing with the treatment established by the decisive medical commission. As a result, not matching ID documents are often the reason for Ukrainian trans people being laid off or not getting hired in the first place.

TGEU Senior Policy officer Richard Köhler comments:

“Discrimination in employment is a severe problem for trans people in Ukraine. Its gender recognition procedure has a share in it. The procedure violates human rights. Its reform should be the parliaments’ next priority.“