In recent decades, we have seen significant process in LGBTQI+ rights across Europe and elsewhere around the world. However, the progress is uneven and there is much more work to be done to advance rights and protections for trans people, and especially trans youth. This report explores the current state of legal gender recognition laws across Europe, with a focus on rights of young people.
A small number of countries have adopted laws allowing trans people to have their gender identity legally recognised through self-determination rather than medical diagnosis or court order. However, most self-determination laws exclude people under 18 or impose requirements that significantly limit their access to these processes. Barriers to having their gender legally-recognised can intensify the discrimination and harassment trans young people face.
This report explores laws on legal gender recognition with a focus on rights of young people in eight European jurisdictions: Norway, Malta, Belgium, as well as Denmark, France, Ireland, Portugal and the United Kingdom. It also looks at international and regional human rights legal principles, norms and guidance. No country has ‘perfect’ laws, but the report aims to identify a mix of examples of more progressive approaches as well as examples where reform efforts have fallen short. Crucially, the report includes insights from experienced NGO activists on key obstacles encountered and lessons learned on the path to meaningful change. We hope this report will be a powerful tool for activists and NGOs working to advance the rights of trans youth across Europe and elsewhere.
This report is published by Thomson Reuters Foundation, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) Youth & Student Organisation (IGLYO), and Dentons, with assistance from the NextLaw Referral Network, local NGOs, and contributing law firms in Denmark (Latham & Watkins and Mark Roboso Ebbesen), Ireland (LK Shields Solicitors), Malta (Fenech Farrugia Fiott), Norway (Vaar Advokat AS) and Portugal (Gómez-Acebo & Pombo Abogados).