European Parliament internal note: Transgender Persons’ Rights in the EU Member States

July 9th, 2010

European Parliament services have released an internal note, detailing transgender people’s rights in the EU Member States. The note, already downloadable here (PDF), will soon be available to the public on the Parliament’s website along with similar internal studies.European Parliament note on transgender rightsAs part of its policy-making work, the European Parliament regularly produces internal notes and studies to help committees in their legislative drafting. The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs had requested a briefing on transgender rights via Raül Romeva i Rueda MEP, Vice-president of the Intergroup.

The briefing note details the situation of transgender people in the European Union based on legal sources, institutional documents and non-governmental sources. It includes a section on EU-wide anti-discrimination measures, gender reassignment procedures throughout the European Union, access to health care, freedom of movement and asylum issues, as well as the legal and social situation for transgender people in Turkey and Croatia.

The note includes a copy of the first European Parliament resolution on transgender rights dated 1989, and concludes with an exhaustive annex listing legal specificities in each Member State.

Download the note (PDF)

N.B.: As for all other notes produced by the European Parliament’s Directorate-General for Internal Policies, this document does not necessarily reflect the European Parliament’s position, nor that of the Intergroup on LGBT Rights.

The Importance of Knowing Our History

Transgender as an all encompassing umbrella has very little sense of history.

It tends to pick snippets and fragments from the past and then place them in the context of  this recently constructed political identity.

Often time in doing this they anachronistically supply context that was absent when the events occurred.

Much is made of there being “queens” at Stonewall where they are labeled as “Transgender Warriors” even when we used the term “queen” in a rather nebulous and highly inclusive manner in those days.  One element that has been lost is:  Feminine gay called each other “she” and “Mary”.  As in, “Get Miss Thing over there, she thinks she is a real man, when we all know she’s the last woman between the sheets.”

Read by those within the social construct of present day transgender identity politics and applying a present day textual reading that is ignorant of the historical ironic subtext of camp would place people such as the one speaking in such a matter in the camp of “transgender as umbrella”.

I think one reason the Compton’s Riot gets ignored in transgender history is that many people in the transgender movement come from a heterosexual CD background.  To live in such a background requires a certain degree of internalized homophobia if only in the form of adamant denial of attraction to men.  Dropping the mask and self acceptance requires a willingness to face both criticism and self-criticism.  Too often people have abrogated that role to gender therapists.

There is another problem with contextualizing the movements that grew out of Compton’s Riots as being within the Gay and Lesbian Movements.  The groups the riot spawned we’re for us and by us.

We also had heterosexual CD groups that wouldn’t allow gay members.  We had what were largely transition oriented transsexual support groups, that attracted those people who were in historical context the people that the intermediate label of transgender gave a formal name to since they were not transvestites yet they really weren’t transsexual.

None of these really met within the gay community or lesbian community.  Lesbian community participation was pretty much on a post-SRS basis. However, exceptions were made for certain witty, talented and physically attractive people for whom the designation of transgender would be more appropriate than transsexual.

This begs the question…  What is the source of this irritation that caused me to repeat this lesson?  Yesterday someone posted the following over on ENDA Blog: It is as pissy and arrogantly ignorant as it sounds:

…And Every Person Who Benefits From it Still Has the Right to Discriminate Against Trans People

Twenty-one years after gays and lesbians in Massachusetts engineered for themselves the special right to discriminate against trans people whilst knowing that they themselves can live free from employment discrimination we have this:

Well let’s see something:  21 years ago George H. Bush, Chimpy, the elder was President.  People were dying left and right from AIDS.  ACT-UP and Queer Nation were the militant wing of Gay/Lesbian  Movement.  Notice I didn’t say LGBT Movement.  There wasn’t a freaking LGBT Community in 1989.  That social construct didn’t even start appearing until the mid-1990s.  In 1989 transsexual/transgender groups were not even meeting in Gay & Lesbian Centers yet.

In California it was actually easier to add hate crimes based on gender identity, perceived gender etc to the gay and lesbian section of the hate crimes bill than it would have been to get it there when the only people related to the Gay & Lesbian Movement tended to be post-ops who were lesbian or gay.

But what bothers me even more because it comes off like a bunch of overly privileged white heterosexual men whining about how other people have different priorities other than their priorities, is the following passage:

But Massachusetts still is able to take the group of people who anti-gay religionists view blanketly as sodomites and divide it in two, giving the straight-acting (and straight-acting wannabee) gays and lesbians rights that visibly gender-nonconforming people (and those outed as not conforming to religionist ideas of sex-definition conformity) do not have.

But, of course, gay marriage always comes first…

and then DADT…

yadda, yadda, yadda…………………………………….

Gee kind of demanding, don’t cha think?  Gay and Lesbian people should ignore issues that are important to them to cater to “your” issues.  While I fully support an inclusive ENDA, dignity, inclusive hate crimes laws and medical benefits and a whole laundry list of other measures that are supportive of the wide range of working people in the world I do not consider myself transgender.  Those in the Transgender Movement have these really nasty habits of acting like spoiled little boys when mommy and big sister do not stop what ever they are doing to cater to their needs.

This is residual assumption of male privilege in action.

The funny thing is I rarely see this from those representing and advocating for Transgender people within the context of the LGBT/T Movement.  I don’t see it from Autumn, Monica Helms, Mara, Jillian or a hundred other people out there putting their bodies on the line.

No.. I see it on mailing lists and in some blogs where the horizontal hostility is a deep and constant current.

I live in Texas.  This ruling has no effect on me.  But it is one small victory won in the over all struggle that will be a very long and bloody culture war.

Celebrate the victory.  Quit the pissing and moaning because you aren’t always the freaking center of attention.  This sort of behavior  has been one reason why the left and progressive people have been on the losing side for all these years.

Time to form a United Front instead of Identity Politics Interest Groups.

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On This Day in History

From Facebook: “The Grateful Dead’s last show was played on this date at Soldier Field in 1995. Here’s a portion of the track ‘So Many Roads’ from that final performance.”

What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been

Even though I was far from being a major Deadhead something died within me when Jerry Garcia died.  The Dead touched me in a way the Beatles never did.