Fundamental rights intersex people not respected, EU and Council of Europe reports find

Yesterday, the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency launched a focus paper on the fundamental rights situation of intersex* people. The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights also published a research paper on human rights and  intersex people.

intersexBoth papers share important conclusions, including the need to break down the discriminatory barriers for intersex people, and to end unnecessary ‘normalizing’ surgeries on intersex people.

The Fundamental Rights Agency’s paper highlights that many Member States legally require births to be certified and registered as male or female, which is problematic for intersex people. The report recommends reviewing gender markers in identity documents and birth registries to better protect intersex people.

Further, the paper recommends abolishing ‘sex-normalising’ medical treatments for intersex people without informed consent. Currently, in most EU Member States, medical interventions are carried out on intersex infants to impose a sex on them.

Lastly, the paper highlights the need for better protection from discrimination, particularly by awareness raising among legal and medical professionals, and clarifying that intersex people are protected from discrimination under EU anti-discrimination law (Gender Equality Directive (recast)).

Sirpa Pietikainen MEP, Vice-President of the Intergroup on LGBTI rights, reacted: “I strongly welcome the publication of these papers, which rightly point at the ongoing violations of intersex people’s fundamental rights.”

“It is absurd that in the EU today, intersex infants are still subject to unnecessary and irreversible medical and surgical interventions, simply because they need to fit a gender stereotype. It is time for Member States to stop these practices.”

Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup, Ian Duncan MEP, added: “These reports highlight a worrying trend throughout Europe.  The fundamental rights of intersex people should not be ignored, and must be implemented at every level of government.”

Dennis de Jong MEP, Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup, concluded: “Too long politicians and policy makers have neglected the fundamental rights of intersex people.”

“Our system needs to become intersex inclusive, which means we need to tackle all medical, legal and administrative obstacles that stand in the way of recognition of their rights.  I call on the Commission and Member States to address this head on.”

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* Intersex people vary in their chromosomal, hormonal and/or anatomical which do not match strict medical definitions of male or female.