New EU gender equality strategy looks into transgender people’s rights

Yesterday European Commissioner for Fundamental Rights Viviane Reding presented the 2010-2015 Strategy for equality between women and men in the European Union. The European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights welcomes the inclusion of gender identity in EU gender equality efforts.

Viviane Reding - Gender equality (Credits: European Commission)In June 2010, the European Parliament called on the Commission to take explicit measures against discrimination on grounds of gender identity. A parliamentary event was also held in September, highlighting the need for EU action for transgender people’s rights; and Members of the European Parliament later met with Commission officials, seeking reassurance that transgender issues would be being looked into.

In its new Strategy for equality between women and men, the European Commission pledges to promote less rigid gender roles; look into sex discrimination based on gender identity; and assess whether Member States adequately protect citizens on grounds of gender identity when accessing goods and services.

Ulrike Lunacek MEP (AT/Greens), Co-president of the LGBT Intergroup, commented: “This is a positive sign that the European Commission has started listening to both Parliament and civil society. I am optimistic that this strategy will ultimately have a positive effect on the lives of many transgender people.”

Member of the LGBT Intergroup Marije Cornelissen MEP (NL/Greens) also welcomed the document: “The Commission responded to demands by Parliament to work on gender identity as a ground of discrimination. I hope the Commission will not only monitor the situation carefully, but also that it will be firm with Member States violating European equal treatment legislation.”

Eva-Britt Svensson MEP (SE/GUE), Chair of the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee and Member of the LGBT Intergroup, further added: “I cordially welcome the Commission’s strategy, and I look forward to closely cooperating throughout 2010-2015 to achieve our common goals. I’m convinced that gender equality should not only be considered as a goal but as the golden key which opens all closed doors and invites us to an inclusive society for all—regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation,  gender identity, ethnicity or economic background. All these factors are still grounds of discrimination, and surely we need stronger and more comprehensive EU legislation in this field.”

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Image credits: European Commission