MEPs strike a blow against forced sterilisation of trans people and for LGBTI mental health rights

Nathanael Williams

Europe’s MEPs vote in favour of safeguarding the rights of LGBTI communities laying down a challenge to authoritarian discrimination in Turkey and Europe

FORCED STERILISATION of Trans citizens across the European Union should be a banned practice according to a report approved and adopted by members of the EU’s parliament yesterday (Tuesday 14 February).

364 MEPs supported the recommendation along with the wider Beccera report which advised on how to promote the mental health well-being of the EU’s LGBTI citizenry.

The news comes as Turkey has been criticised for forcing trans people to go through a sterilisation and as France scrapped its own laws forcing individuals to do the same.

“The inclusive, intersectional language used in the Beccera report is very welcome indeed.” Evelyne Paradis

Evelyne Paradis, the executive director of ILGA-Europe, said: “Thanks to Rapporteur Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, and the MEPs who voted in favour, we now have a detailed report that focuses on the needs of LGBTI people, in particular reflecting the lived experiences of trans and intersex people. The inclusive, intersectional language used in the Beccera report is very welcome indeed.” 

Although EU member states are meant to provide legal gender recognition for trans citizens, only 35 countries in Europe do so and only one currently does not demand that trans people undergo sterilisation or medical interventions, divorce, or a psychological diagnosis or assessment.

Campaigners say that such treatment and requirements are abusive and mean that most trans people are stuck with documents that do not match their gender identity. It additionally means an attack on their dignity and mental well being having to go through numerous invasive procedures in terms of administration or invasive surgery.

In March of 2015, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in favour of a trans male who argued that Turkey (which is not currently an EU member nation) could not legally deny his gender reassignment surgery on the grounds that he was still able to biologically reproduce. Turkey has continued, despite the judgement to create barriers for trans persons who wish to undertake gender reassignment.

Countries in EU or associated that have sterilisation requirements. Blue for none, orange for sterilisation and red for nations with no legal recognition of trans persons. 

According to the Council of Europe, transgender persons are particularly vulnerable to high levels of repeated victimisation and violence and are two times more likely to be discriminated when looking for a job than the lesbian, gay and bisexual population. 

LGBTI as a whole still face an increased likelihood of informal and overt discrimination in the workplace in some eastern EU member states despite advances made in the area of marriage equality and employment discrimination law.

The ILGA-Europe hope that the European Commission, member states and local authorities will create and develop specific policies to provide mental health services to those facing intersectional discrimination, including intersex and trans people.

Picture courtesy of Diamond Geezer

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