Transgender Sexual and Reproductive Rights
Transgender rights history
In 1994 Gender Identity Disorder (GID), also known as transsexualism, was included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Around the same time the disorder was incorporated in the Mental and behavioral disorders chapter of WHO’s International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision (ICD-10) . By then the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) had, since its foundation in 1979, advocated for understanding for and treatment of what they referred to as gender identity disorders.
The objection of a part of the transgender community is that diagnostic policies psychopathologize gender diversity. Activists have advocated for the depathologization of “gender identities, gender expressions or bodies that do not conform to birth-assigned gender stereotypes, while at the same time providing some kind of diagnostic coding for access to medical transition treatment for those who need it.” Diagnostic criteria based on distress and impairment, rather than difference from cultural gender stereotypes, would therefore be regarded as a considerable progress by many transgender people.
Sexual rights of transgender people
The following laws and policies, listed by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association ILGA, directly affect the sexual rights of transgender people:
- Ability to change gender on official documents (which can be prohibited, allowed of allowed after sex reassignment surgery)
- Laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity
- Asylum on the basis of gender identity
- Bias against gender identity is regarded as an aggravating circumstance in hate crimes
- Sex reassignment treatment and/or sugery is under legal control
- Transgenderism is (not) classified as an illness
Reproductive rights of transgender people
The reproductive rights of transgender people are first and foremost affected by compulsory sex reassignment surgery and/or sterilization. Civil Codes can require transgender people to take hormones and undergo surgery to alter their bodies and be permanently and irreversibly sterilized before they can have their gender legally recognized. These requirements violate transgender people’s rights to personal autonomy and physical integrity, and deny them the ability to define their own gender identity, Human Rights Watch stated.
Keeping track of transgender rights
Different organizations and authorities track status of and changes in transgender rights.
- The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) has developed an interactive world map with information about more laws and policies for LGBTI people worldwide. ILGA also published the Rainbow Europe Country Index , rating each European country’s laws and administrative practices that protect or violate the human rights of LGBT people according to 24 categories (like anti-discrimination legislation and criminal law).
- The European parliament published an overview of trnsgdender persons’ rights in the EU member states in 2010.
- In 2011 the UN published its first report on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, discussing the way international human rights law can be used against LGBT discrimination.