Saturday, 25 June 2011

Specific obstacles for transgender persons and human rights violations - Council of Europe report

Legal recognition
In 10 Council of Europe member states this report has not identified legislation regulating the legal gender recognition. This is the case in Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, Slovenia and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”. Nor did this study find evidence that these 10 states offer the possibility for transgender persons to have their preferred gender legally recognised in an alternative manner (in the absence of legislation). In 13 other member states transgender persons are able to have their new gender legally recognised, either through going to court or by certain administrative practices or decrees. This is the case in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, France, Georgia, Hungary, Iceland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Poland and Serbia.

Change of name
Generally, member states require some form of medical opinion. Some states allow a change of name on documents only on production of a certificate from the medical profession confirming that gender reassignment surgery has taken place or evidence of the legal gender recognition (for example Croatia, Georgia, Latvia, Moldova, San Marino, Slovakia and Ukraine). At least three other member states require proof of hormonal treatment (Belgium, Croatia and Switzerland). In yet other states applicants need to have a gender dysphoria diagnosis to qualify for the name change (Denmark, Germany, Finland and some cantons in Switzerland). In some states such as Malta a court authorisation is required for a change of name. In the United Kingdom and Ireland a certificate from a notary is sufficient to secure a legal name change. In Ireland, it is remarkable that while it is impossible to receive legal gender recognition, there is a relatively simple procedure for a name change.

Gender reassignment treatment
Twenty-eight member states offer full or partial gender reassignment treatment to transgender persons (Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Greece, Georgia, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Ukraine). The differences between these 28 member states are significant, ranging from member states where quality expertise centres are available and those where some but not all necessary treatment is available. In Malta and Ireland, for example, hormonal treatment is available, but no surgery. In yet other member states services are only available in one city.

In 13 member states (Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro and San Marino) no facilities needed for gender reassignment treatments were identified. Transgender persons from these 13 countries wishing to undergo gender reassignment would then have to go abroad (they are explicitly advised to do so in some member states).

*Read also: Groundbreaking Council of Europe report issues ‘red cards’ to many member states, incl. Armenia, for failing gay rights

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