At the beginning of the year, we knew we would have challenging and exciting work ahead of us, but we had no idea that would include a worldwide pandemic! In the midst of a very strange period, though, and with the joint resilience, skills, and commitment of our members, Board, and staff, we were able to reprogramme our work.
We took our programmes online, organised a series of workshops to help trans groups respond to the COVID-19 crisis, held a successful virtual General Assembly, elected a powerful new board, expanded our membership, adopted a new Strategic Plan, and more! We submitted a range of interventions to ensure intersectional issues impacting trans communities were considered by the European Commission, the Council of Europe, and countries throughout Europe and Central Asia. And we made some progress in increasing accessibility through consistent use of closed captioning and English/Russian translation and interpretation throughout our public and member programmes.
Nevertheless, the lives, rights, and wellbeing of trans people – most especially trans people of colour, trans sex workers, trans people with disabilities, and trans people who are poor – continue to be at risk. 2020 was one of the deadliest years for trans women of colour, with at least 350 deaths documented by the Trans Murder Monitoring project. Several countries in the region, including Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and the UK, reduced access to legal gender recognition or healthcare for trans people. Meanwhile, we know the pandemic has had a devastating impact on the welfare of many trans people, especially trans sex workers. We have a lot of work to do in 2021 to address these and other critical issues facing our communities.
2020 key highlights
TGEU’s Council should have been our main community work highlight of 2020. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this could not happen. However, TGEU did its best to adapt to this new crisis, redirecting our work towards COVID-19 community support while continuing to engage with our members and the broader trans communities. Likewise, a lot of the policy work focus has shifted: fewer meetings and more written submissions. Below you will find some highlights from TGEU’s work this year.
Community and COVID-19 response
- Launch of TGEU’s Trans Refugee Network and Trans Health Network
- First community organising training on intersectionality and transformative justice for Western Balkan activists, in Montenegro
- Immediate response to the COVID-19 crisis with a set of trans-specific recommendations, regular check-in with our members and partners, and social media campaigns (in English and Russian)
- Capacity-building support through a series of COVID-19 online training (in English and Russian)
- Report on the impact of COVID-19 on trans communities in Europe and Central Asia (coming soon).
Policy and advocacy
- Feeding into the EU LGBTI Equality Strategy: meetings with European Commission, written submission and, after launch, discussing trans rights in the strategy with various stakeholders on panels
- Two joint submissions regarding the EU Strategy on the rights of the child to the European Commission
- Report to the UN Independent SOGI Expert about the impact of COVID-19 on trans communities in Europe and Central Asia
- Submissions and feeding into institutional processes on various topics: EU victim’s rights strategy, UN rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, EU violence against women and domestic violence fitness check, UN rapporteur on the right to privacy, and EP LGBTI Intergroup on sexual and reproductive rights of trans and non-binary people
- Country support for members in Hungary, Russia, Kazakhstan, Spain, Germany, and Scotland.
Campaigns and publications
- Trans Day of Remembrance 2020 campaign with data from the Trans Murder Monitoring: “Remembering those lost, fighting for our futures,” November 2020
- Pride 2020 campaign: “Black and Trans – Proud and Resilient,” June 2020
- Trans Rights Europe & Central Asia Index & Maps 2020, May 2020
- A brief guide to monitoring anti-trans violence, March 2020
- Capacity Building: 6 group activities for trans activists, February 2020.
Meet our new Board
Despite the pandemic, TGEU has successfully held its first virtual General Assembly in November 2020. We are grateful to our membership and all participants who brought their ideas and hope, as well as the staff, the interpreters and captioners, the previous Board and Auditors, who made this General Assembly possible. Thanks to you all.
We are excited to welcome a new Board, new Auditors and, for the first time in TGEU, Pre-Election Committee! We are also thrilled to start implementing TGEU’s Strategic Plan 2020-2022!
Visit our website for further information on the new Board.
We thank the activists and organisations who make TGEU possible.
We will be closed from 24 December 2020 and will be back on 4 January 2021 ready to take on the big work ahead of us.
Thank you for being a part of this work – there would be no TGEU without you!