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Human Rights and Gender Identity: Best Practice Catalogue

March 30th 2017

The Best Practice Catalogue prepared by Trans Gender Europe gives practical examples on how to implement trans human rights demands in practice. The aim of the catalogue is to inspire stakeholders to seek similar or new ways to ensure a high standard of trans human rights. These inspirational examples, coming mainly from Europe, cover a number of issues.

Introduction

This publication is an updated civil society follow-up to the pioneering work of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, and his 2009 Issue Paper entitled Human Rights and Gender Identity. In it, the Commissioner explored the human rights situation of trans people in depth, clearly showing that they remain one of the most vulnerable and discriminated-against communities due to inadequate legislation and social marginalisation. Through a set of twelve recommendations, the Commissioner called on Council of Europe Member States to respect the human rights of trans people and put in place concrete measures for the social inclusion and emancipation of trans people.

In 2011, ILGA-Europe and Transgender Europe produced the first Best Practice Catalogue as a response to frequent questions from policy makers and LGBTI organisations, that often asked them to provide advice on the implementation of the recommendations. This publication is a 2016 updated version of the 2011 catalogue. The ambition is, as it was in 2011, to publish the most complete set of best practices that are known to TGEU, to illustrate how each of the twelve recommendations can be met in legislation, policy and practice. In this updated version, they have moved away slightly from Hammarberg’s recommendations, to allow space for new areas that have developed in the field since 2011. This publication aims, like the previous one, to inspire legislators, decision makers, equality bodies and human rights organisations to work towards a world free from discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and gender expression, that affords trans people the dignity and respect that they deserve.

Equality bodies’ proactive policy work covering trans people

p.23-25 The work of Equinet on combating discrimination against trans people was also included. For example, the 2015 report The Persistence of Discrimination, Harassment and Inequality for women includes a chapter on the work done by national equality bodies on discrimination against trans people. The report also concludes that under-reporting by trans people is a recurring problem, as “trans people have particular anxieties about seeking help and do not know where to go to for help.”

Making Equality Legislation work for Trans People from 2010, provides various recommendations to equality bodies and to the European institutions. The ten recommendations for member equality bodies revolve around, firstly, making trans issues a concern and taking the time to understand them; secondly, the internalisation of this knowledge in the equality body’s work and making trans issues visible; and thirdly, the development of an outwardly focused approach through strategic casework, engagement with other stakeholders and direct communication with trans people.

They also highlighted some of our capacity building activities about gender equality and combatting harassment and sexual harassment, with a trans perspective on the topic.

There was also a focus on the work of a number of equality bodies:

  • Interpretation of the Equality Act in Finland Guidelines by the Finnish Ombudsman for Equality;
  • Guidelines by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Great Britain, including on guiding public officials and service providers to provide inclusive
    and respectful services to trans people no matter the field that they operate in;
  • Report on the situation of trans people from Belgium’s Institute for the Equality of Women and Men, entitled Being transgender in Belgium: Mapping the social and legal situation of transgender people in Belgium;
  • National initiatives from Germany, Estonia, Poland, Estonia, Austria, Croatia and Serbia were also highlighted.

Further reading

Download the publication here.

For more on the launch, check the TGEU webpage.