A study on trans and intersex people in EU law that was presented at the European Parliament last week described discrimination against trans people as ‘rampant in all EU countries’.
Co-author of the study Silvan Agius presented it to a gathering of 70 people entitled Trans and Intersex People – Challeges in EU Law in Brussels last Wednesday.
The key findings were that effective legal protection against discrimination is lacking on European and national level. Agius said that ‘trans and Intersex people fall between the cracks of a strict societal norm that only recognizes men and women’.
Transgender Europe’s policy officer Richard Kohler also spoke at the conference. He said:
‘Trans people are amongst the first be dismissed or pushed into lower paying
jobs. Therefore, employment equality measures should specifically target trans people and employers.’
Kohler also highlighted that the laws around gender recognition mean that trans people suffer ‘forced sterilization, forced divorce, mandatory psychological treatment and real-life-experience’ in most EU countries.
The study included discrimination against intersex people for the first time in a European Commission study.
Germany and Finland were recognized for having the most advanced protection for those born without standard male or female body parts.
The report also commended Scotland for including explicit reference to ‘intersexuality’ in Scotland’s Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) Act 2009, but criticized the fact that intersex was included under trans identity, when in fact it is different.
The conclusion of the report calls for the wording in EU law, ‘discrimination on grounds of sex’, should be interpreted widely to include gender identity, gender expression and intersex people.
It said that this was particularly important before Turkey joins the EU (possibly 2013 but more likely 2021) due to the widespread discrimination and violence against trans women there.