Hungary votes to end legal recognition of trans people

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/19/hungary-votes-to-end-legal-recognition-of-trans-people

Activists say new law will increase discrimination, especially as Hungarians must often display their ID cards

in Budapest
Tue 19 May 2020

Hungary’s parliament has voted to end legal recognition for trans people, passing a bill that rights activists say pushes the country “back towards the dark ages”.

The new law defines gender as based on chromosomes at birth, meaning previous provisions whereby trans people could alter their gender and name on official documents will no longer be available.

The votes of rightwing prime minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party pushed the legislation through by 134 to 56, with four abstentions. It is likely to be signed into law by the president, János Áder, a close ally of Orbán.

Although Orbán passed a bill during the coronavirus pandemic to allow him to rule indefinitely by decree, the transgender bill was part of a larger package of legislation that went through parliament in the normal way. It was proposed by the deputy prime minister on 31 March, International Transgender Day of Visibility, and amendments submitted by opposition parties were discarded one by one on Tuesday.

The law has been roundly condemned both at home and abroad. Bernadett Szél, an opposition MP who spoke out strongly against the bill in parliament, described it as evil.

Trans people and advocates say the bill will lead to increased discrimination against the community, especially as Hungarian daily life requires people to show their identity cards frequently. It also means that trans people will not be able to choose a name that fits with their identified gender, as Hungarian law requires first names to be chosen from a list kept by the country’s Academy of Sciences, which is sorted according to gender.

“It basically means coming out as trans to complete strangers, all the time,” Ivett Ördög, a 39-year-old trans woman living in Budapest, told the Guardian last month.

The Háttér Society, a Hungarian trans rights group, said on Tuesday that the law violated international human rights norms and went against the case law of the European court of human rights, as well as previous rulings of the Hungarian constitutional court.

Since 2017, legal gender changes in the country have effectively been frozen, and now the backlog of people waiting for the legal procedure will all be rejected, along with any new applicants. Because the new category will list “sex at birth”, there are also fears it could be used to target trans people who have already legally changed their gender.

Krisztina Tamás-Sáróy of Amnesty International said: “This decision pushes Hungary back towards the dark ages and tramples the rights of transgender and intersex people. It will not only expose them to further discrimination but will also deepen an already intolerant and hostile environment faced by the LGBTI community.”

Orbán’s government has increasingly used anti-LGBT rhetoric as part of a perceived culture war, and has made “traditional family values” a mainstay of many of its policies. The speaker of parliament, an Orbán ally, last year compared gay couples that adopt to paedophiles.

Black transgender man fatally shot by Florida police

From NBC News:  https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/black-transgender-man-fatally-shot-florida-police-n1218156

At least 11 transgender or gender nonconforming people have been killed this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

By Gwen Aviles
May 29, 2020

A black transgender man was fatally shot Wednesday by a police officer in Tallahassee, Florida — at least the third reported officer-involved shooting in Tallahassee in two months.

The victim, Tony McDade, 38, was identified as a suspect in a reported stabbing the morning of his death. Police said McDade fled the scene of the stabbing on foot before officers arrived, but they encountered McDade nearby shortly afterward.

According to police, McDade reportedly had a handgun and “made a move consistent with using the firearm” against an officer, prompting the officer to shoot McDade.

The Tallahassee Police Department said that it is investigating and that the officer, who was not identified, has been placed on administrative leave.

News of McDade’s death coincides with protests in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer pinned him to the ground and put his knee on his neck for about eight minutes. The officer was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder.

“When we say all Black lives matter, we mean ALL,” tweeted Black Visions Collective, a Minneapolis-based advocacy group working for racial justice. “Our hearts go out to Tony’s family and the Black people of Tallahassee.”

In a video posted to Facebook early Wednesday morning, less than 10 hours before the McDade shooting, McDade said he’d been attacked by a group of men and that he planned to fight back.

“It’s just Tony the Tiger all alone coming for your blood,” McDade said. “I am killing and going to be killed, because I will not go back into federal prison.”

McDade was released from prison in January after serving 10 years on federal charges of possessing firearms following felony convictions.

Though police and several local news reports referred to McDade as a “female,” McDade used he/him pronouns on Facebook, and local advocacy groups said he identified as a transgender man.

Equality Florida, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization, said McDade’s death further exemplifies that Florida is “an epicenter of anti-trans violence.” At least seven black transgender people were murdered in Florida over the last two years, according to the organization.

Following McDade’s death, the National Black Justice Coalition said the “tragic incident should be a reminder that hate crimes against Black LGBTQ” people happen “too frequently” and “often without the national public outcry that our cis and/or heteronormative brothers and sisters receive.”

“It is important to highlight the too often ignored violence that members of our community face in addition to the discrimination we may experience because we are Black,” the coalition said in a statement.”

At least 11 transgender or gender-nonconforming people have been fatally shot or killed by other means this year so far, according to the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBTQ advocacy group.

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