MEPs urge Romanian president not to promulgate law forbidding discussions on gender and gender identity

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[unnofficial Romanian translation below]

Romanian President, Klaus Iohannis

Cotroceni Palace | 1-3, Geniului Blvd.

6th District ÔÇô Bucharest, Romania

Brussels, 24 June 2020

Subject: Request to reject bill L87/2020, ÔÇťLegislative proposal to modify and complete the Law regarding National Education nr. 1/2011ÔÇŁ

Dear Romanian President, Klaus Iohannis,

On Tuesday, 16 June 2020, the Romanian Senate approved a bill that forbids any discussion on ÔÇťgender identity theory or opinionÔÇŁ in Romanian schools and educational establishments. 

The bill reads:

 ÔÇťin the units, in the educational institutions and in all the spaces destined to the vocational education and training, including in the extracurricular education activities education are prohibited:

e) activities in order to spread the theory or opinion of gender identity, understood as the theory of opinion that gender is a concept different from biological sex and that gender and sex are not always the same thingÔÇŁ.

The promulgation of this bill would further endanger the lives of men, women and girls, transgender and gender-diverse persons, since denying the reality of gender is failing to acknowledge the social realities lived by different people on the basis of their gender. Ignoring these differences does not erase them. In particular, this bill may have a catastrophic impact on the lives of trans persons, who are already victims of intense discrimination in Romania.

According to the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, Romania faces a significant problem regarding the protection of its LGBTI population from discrimination and violence:

  • It is, together with Poland, the EU country registering the highest rate of physical or sexual assaults of LGBTI persons in the last five years (15%)
  • it is equally among the 5 countries in Europe where the majority of the LGBTI population is almost or never open about being LGBTI;
  • in particular, trans persons in the EU experience the most harassment due to being LGBTI: 1 in every 2 trans persons has claimed to have been harassed due to being LGBTI. Romania counts on the second largest percentage in the EU of persons in this situation (43%).[1]

These numbers are shocking and highlight why forbidding the discussion of gender identity in schools and other educational settings may impede the development of acceptance and tolerance towards transgender persons and further contribute to their social ostracization, discrimination and potential harm. Equally, stopping any discussion on the topic of gender identity may further serve to contribute to ignorance on transgender personsÔÇÖ lives, lack of awareness regarding their needs and consequent lack of legislation addressing them.

In 2018, the European Parliament adopted a resolution where it condemned vis-├á-vis Hungary ÔÇťthe attacks on free teaching and research, in particular on gender studiesÔÇť and called for ÔÇťthe fundamental democratic principle of educational freedom to be fully restored and safeguarded.ÔÇŁ[2] The current situation in Romania follows the same trail of attempting to restrict academic freedom under the guise of fighting a fictional ÔÇťgender ideologyÔÇŁ. 

Furthermore, Romania has signed the Istanbul Convention in 2014. Its ratification and entry into force in 2016 make it difficult to understand how its implementation would be undertaken if the concept of gender is completely erased. In particular, the term gender is clearly defined as ÔÇťthe socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for women and menÔÇŁ, which intends to fight, among others, gender-based violence and domestic violence.

RomaniaÔÇÖs obligations under the Istanbul Convention to prevent and combat gender-based violence and domestic violence, as well as the obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights to uphold the principle of non-discrimination, will not cease to exist. Equally, trans persons in Romania will not disappear because of a prohibition on gender identity being addressed in educational settings. This is a crucial moment for Romania to choose between the promotion of equality or ignorance, knowledge or censorship.

In accordance with the above, we urge you to reject passing into law the above-mentioned bill, adopting instead a posture of promotion of diversity and equality, which is at the heart of the Romanian Constitution and the European project.

Yours sincerely,


Dragă dl. Klaus Iohannis, Președinte al României,

Mar╚Ťi, pe 16 iunie 2020, Senatul Rom├óniei a aprobat un proiect de lege care interzice orice fel de discu╚Ťie despre ÔÇťteoria sau opinia identit─â╚Ťii de genÔÇŁ ├«n ╚Öcolile rom├óne╚Öti ╚Öi ├«n institu╚Ťiile educa╚Ťionale.

Legea men╚Ťioneaz─â:

ÔÇť├«n unit─â╚Ťile, ├«n institu╚Ťiile de ├«nv─â╚Ť─âm├ónt ╚Öi ├«n toate spa╚Ťiile dedicate educa╚Ťiei ╚Öi form─ârii profesionale, inclusiv ├«n unit─â╚Ťile care ofer─â educa╚Ťie extra╚Öcolar─â sunt interzise:

e). activit─â╚Ťile ├«n vederea r─âsp├óndirii teoriei sau opiniei identit─â╚Ťii de gen, ├«n╚Ťeleas─â ca teoria sau opinia c─â genul este un concept diferit de sexul biologic ╚Öi c─â cele dou─â nu sunt ├«ntotdeauna acelea╚ÖiÔÇŁ

Promulgarea acestei legi ar pune ├«n pericol vie╚Ťile b─ârba╚Ťilor, femeilor, fetelor, persoanelor transgender ╚Öi persoanelor cu identit─â╚Ťi de gen diverse. Negarea realit─â╚Ťii genului ├«nseamn─â nerecunoa╚Öterea realit─â╚Ťilor tr─âite de diferite persoane ca rezultat al identit─â╚Ťilor lor de gen. Ignorarea acestor diferen╚Ťe nu ├«nseamn─â ╚Ötergerea lor. ├Än mod particular, aceast─â lege ar avea un impact catastrofic asupra vie╚Ťii persoanelor trans, care sunt deja victimele constante ale discrimin─ârii ├«n Rom├ónia.

Conform Agen╚Ťiei pentru Drepturi Fundamentale a Uniunii Europene (FRA), Rom├ónia se confrunt─â cu o problem─â semnificativ─â privind protec╚Ťia persoanelor LGBTI ├«n fa╚Ťa discrimin─ârii ╚Öi violen╚Ťei.

  • Rom├ónia, ├«mpreun─â cu Polonia, este ╚Ťara din UE cu cele mai ridicate rate de abuz fizic ╚Öi sexual ├«mpotriva persoanelor LGBTI ├«n ultimii cinci ani (15%)
  • Rom├ónia este printre cele cinci ╚Ť─âri din UE unde majoritatea popula╚Ťiei LGBTI nu este deschis─â niciodat─â sau aproape niciodat─â legat de identitatea lor de gen sau orientarea sexual─â
  • ├Än mod particular, persoanele trans din UE au parte de ratele cele mai mari de h─âr╚Ťuire pentru c─â fac parte din comunitatea LGBTI: 1 din 2 persoane trans a fost h─âr╚Ťuit─â pe baza identit─â╚Ťii sale. Rom├ónia este ╚Ťara cu al doilea cel mai mare procent din UE de persoane trans h─âr╚Ťuite (43%)

Aceste numere sunt ╚Öocante ╚Öi pun ├«n lumin─â de ce interzicerea discu╚Ťiei despre identitatea de gen ├«n ╚Öcoli ╚Öi alte contexte educa╚Ťionale ar putea opri dezvoltarea accept─ârii ╚Öi toleran╚Ťei fa╚Ť─â de persoane trans ╚Öi ar putea contribui ╚Öi mai mult la ostracizarea lor, discriminare ╚Öi posibil la cre╚Öterea ratei de violen╚Ť─â. De asemenea, a opri orice discu╚Ťie despre identitatea de gen ar contribui ╚Öi mai mult la invizibilitatea ╚Öi lipsa de informare asupra vie╚Ťilor ╚Öi nevoilor comunit─â╚Ťii transgender, precum ╚Öi asupra lipsei legisla╚Ťiei care s─â adreseze aceste nevoi.

├Än 2018, Parlamentul European a adoptat o rezolu╚Ťie ├«n care condamn─â, vis-a-vis de situa╚Ťia de Ungaria ÔÇťatacurile la educa╚Ťia ╚Öi cercetarea liber─â, ├«n particular legat de studiile de genÔÇŁ, cer├ónd ca ÔÇťprincipiul democratic fundamental al educa╚Ťiei libere s─â fie complet restaurat ╚Öi protejatÔÇŁ . Situa╚Ťia actual─â din Rom├ónia urmeaz─â aceia╚Öi pa╚Öi ├«n ├«ncercarea de a restric╚Ťiona libertatea academic─â sub premisa luptei cu pericolul unei fic╚Ťionale ÔÇťideologii de genÔÇŁ.

Mai mult, Rom├ónia a semnat Conven╚Ťia de la Istanbul ├«n 2014, aceasta intr├ónd ├«n vigoare ├«n anul 2016. Este dificil s─â ne imagin─âm cum aceast─â conven╚Ťie ar putea fi implementat─â dac─â conceptul de gen este ╚Öters. ├Än mod specific, termenul de gen este definit clar ├«n Conven╚Ťie ca ÔÇťrolurile construite social, atitudine, activit─â╚Ťile, atributele pe care o anumit─â societate le consider─â potrivite pentru femei ╚Öi b─ârba╚ŤiÔÇŁ, scopul acesteia fiind, printre altele, combaterea violen╚Ťei motivate de gen ╚Öi violen╚Ťei domestice.

Obliga╚Ťiile Rom├óniei sub conven╚Ťia de la Istanbul de a preveni ╚Öi combate violen╚Ťa de gen ╚Öi violen╚Ťa domestic─â, precum ╚Öi obliga╚Ťiile sub Conven╚Ťia European─â a Drepturilor Omului de a men╚Ťine principiul nediscrimin─ârii continu─â s─â exist─â. Persoanele trans din Rom├ónia nu vor disp─ârea dac─â identitatea de gen nu mai poate fi men╚Ťionat─â ├«n contexte educa╚Ťionale. Acesta este un moment crucial pentru Rom├ónia, ├«n care trebuie s─â aleag─â ├«ntre promovarea egalit─â╚Ťii sau a ignoran╚Ťei, a cuno╚Ötin╚Ťelor ╚Ötiin╚Ťifice sau a cenzurii.

├Än concordan╚Ť─â cu cele men╚Ťionate mai sus, solicit─âm s─â respinge╚Ťi proiectul legislativ men╚Ťionat, promov├ónd, ├«n loc, principiile diversit─â╚Ťii ╚Öi egalit─â╚Ťii, care stau la baza Constitu╚Ťiei Rom├óniei ╚Öi proiectului european.


Katarina BARLEY, EP Vice-President

Heidi HAUTALA´╗┐, EP Vice-President

Fabio Massimo CASTALDO, EP Vice-President

Frederick FEDERLEY, Vice-President, Renew Europe 

Fr├ęd├ęrique RIES, Vice-President, Renew Europe 

Katalin CSEH, Vice-President, Renew Europe 

Alice KUHNKE, Vice-President, Greens/European Free Alliance and LIBE Committee Member

Ernest URTASUN, Vice-President, Greens/European Free Alliance 

Gwendoline DELBOS-CORFIELD, Vice-President, Greens/European Free Alliance and LIBE Committee Substitute

Kira PETER-HANSEN, Vice-President, Greens/European Free Alliance 

Terry REINTKE, Vice-President, Greens/European Free Alliance and LIBE Coordinator for Greens-EFA

Marisa MATIAS, Vice-President, European United Left/Nordic Green Left

Marc ANGEL, Co-Chair, LGBTI Intergroup

Malin BJ├ľRK, Vice-Chair, LGBTI Intergroup and LIBE Committee Substitute

Maria WALSH, Vice-Chair, LGBTI Intergroup and LIBE Committee Substitute

Sophie INÔÇÖT VELD, Vice-Chair, LGBTI Intergroup and LIBE Committee Coordinator for Renew Europe

Juan Fernando L├ôPEZ AGUILAR, Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), Chair 

Birgit SIPPEL, LIBE Committee Coordinator for the Socialists & Democrats

Evin INCIR, LIBE Committee Member

Sylwia SPUREK, LIBE Committee Member

Ramona STRUGARIU, LIBE Committee Member

Tomas TOB├ë, LIBE Committee Member

Abir AL-SAHLANI, LIBE Committee Substitute

Anne-Sophie PELLETIER, LIBE Committee Substitute

Delara BURKHARDT, LIBE Committee Substitute

Dietmar K├ľSTER, LIBE Committee Substitute

Erik MARQUARDT, LIBE Committee Substitute

Giuliano PISAPIA, LIBE Committee Substitute

Hilde VAUTMANS, LIBE Committee Substitute

Tanja FAJON, LIBE Committee Substitute

Antoni COM├ŹN I OLIVERES

Aurore LALUCQ

Brando BENIFEI

Christel SCHALDEMOSE

Eider GARDIAZÁBAL RUBIAL

Evelyn REGNER

Francisco GUERREIRO

Gabriele BISCHOFF

Ir├Ęne TOLLERET

Isabel CARVALHAIS

Jos├ę GUSM├âO

Karen MELCHIOR

Łukasz KOHUT

Manuel BOMPARD

Margrete AUKEN

Maria NOICHL

Mar├şa Soraya RODR├ŹGUEZ RAMOS

Marianne VIND

Mario FURORE

Milan BRGLEZ

Mónica Silvana GONZÁLEZ

Monika VANA

Nicolae ┼×TEF─éNU╚Ü─é

Niels FUGLSANG

Petra DE SUTTER

Pierre KARLESKIND

Rasmus ANDRESEN

Rosa DÔÇÖAMATO

Sara CERDAS

Silvia MODIG

Sirpa PIETIKÄINEN

Svenja HAHN

Tilly METZ

Vera TAX



[1] Fundamental Rights Agency (May 2020), ÔÇťA long way to LGBTI equalityÔÇŁ, accessible on  https://fra.europa.eu/sites/default/files/fra_uploads/fra-2020-lgbti-equality_en.pdf.

[2] European Parliament resolution of 12 September 2018 on a proposal calling on the Council to determine, pursuant to Article 7(1) of the Treaty on European Union, the existence of a clear risk of a serious breach by Hungary of the values on which the Union is founded accessible on https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-8-2018-0340_EN.html.

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