Links to documents:
Access this URL ( Report[Link to copy hosted by European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights]
Download this file (fra-2014-being-trans-eu-comparative_en.pdf)Full Report[Archive copy hosted by UK Trans Info]
Access this URL ( Page Summary[Link to copy hosted by TGEU]
Download this file (FRA - Being Trans in the EU - Summary of Report.pdf)16 Page Summary[Archive copy hosted by UK Trans Info]

Brief Summary

The report analyses transgender persons’ experiences with regard to discrimination, harassment and violence. There were 93,079 around the EU, including over 800 from the UK.

Extract from Document

The Eurovision Song Contest results in 2014 stirred a lively debate on gender and sexuality in many countries. Voting for Austrian winner Conchita Wurst, who describes herself as a ‘bearded lady’, was seen as a vote against homophobia and transphobia. Her case illustrates the impossibility of corralling gender variant expressions and/or identity into socially acceptable male or female norms or even described in words. At a time when Facebook offers more than 50 options for choosing a personal gender marker, it becomes clear that gender feelings cannot be shoehorned into ‘female’ and ‘male’ boxes. As more trans persons openly refuse to identify as either male or females, the survey results make clear that gender discussions, whether general ones in society or those on specific legal and policy measures, must move beyond those boxes.

By illuminating the daily life of trans persons in the European Union (EU) and its Member States, the richness and the comparable nature of the survey data presented in this report make this possible. Drawing on the wealth of results from the EU lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) survey, conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in 2012, the report analyses the lived reality of 6,597 self-declared trans respondents. The survey data represent the largest collection of empirical evidence of its kind to date to shed light on transgender persons’ experiences across various life spheres.

The report analyses transgender persons’ experiences with regard to discrimination, harassment and violence. It examines the opinions and views of transgender respondents aged 18 years and above who were internet users, were informed about the survey and decided to participate in it. Although the survey results cannot be considered representative of all trans people in the EU, the provide insight into the challenges transgender people face and thereby provide support to politicians and policy makers aiming to tackle the problems the respondents describe and to craft policies and laws that better promote their fundamental rights.

The survey stems from a European Commission request from 2010, made in response to calls from the European Parliament. The Commission asked FRA to collect comparable survey data on hate crime and discrimination against LGBT persons in all EU Member States. FRA developed the ‘European Union survey of discrimination and victimisation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons’, which was launched online on 2 April 2012 and ran until 15 July 2012. A large number of respondents (93,079) took part in the survey, providing a wealth of comparable data on their opinions and experiences. The EU LGBT survey is the largest conducted to date of LGBT persons.

The areas covered by the survey were identified in cooperation with relevant stakeholders. Since this survey is comparative and was carried out simultaneously in all EU Member States, the existing international and EU legal standards formed an important starting point for these discussions. At the international level, some United Nations (UN) treaty bodies, drawing on the relevant UN conventions, have placed gender identity on open-ended lists of discrimination grounds. At the EU level, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation – but not on gender identity. Trans persons are protected from discrimination on the ground of ‘sex’ in the EU Charter. This is in line with the related jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which is based on the EU Directive implementing the principle of equal treatment between men and women in the access to and supply of goods and services (Gender Goods and Services Directive). Such protection exists provided that discrimination arises from gender reassignment and concerns the area of employment.

In addition, the Council of Europe’s Recommendation Rec(2010)5 on measures to combat discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity sets out practical measures to guarantee the fundamental rights of LGBT persons, starting from the right to life, security and protection from violence. It also encompasses the freedom of association, expression and peaceful assembly, the right to respect for private and family life, and equal treatment in various areas of social life including employment, education, health, housing and sports.4 The results in this report are presented in the context of and in relation to existing legal standards.

The target group of the EU LGBT survey were persons who self-identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. The survey examines issues of equal treatment and discrimination on two grounds, namely sexual orientation and gender identity. This analysis compares the results for the total group of trans respondents with those for lesbian women, bisexual women, gay men and bisexual men in the EU LGBT Survey. Main Results and the Results at a glance reports.

These reports show that, with few exceptions, trans respondents indicate the highest levels of experiences of discrimination, harassment and violence amongst the different LGBT groups. Furthermore, some of the results of the trans groups follow different patterns than those of lesbian, bisexual or gay respondents. For instance, whereas LGB respondents who openly express their sexual orientation are less likely to indicate discrimination experiences, this is not true for the trans respondents who openly express their gender identity. These and other (diverging) patterns identified in the report signal a need for more in-depth analysis of the experiences of trans persons experiences.

The present report analyses the experiences with regards to equal treatment, discrimination and violence of 6,579 trans respondents from the FRA EU LGBT survey. The survey represents the opinions and views of trans respondents aged 18 and above who were internet users, were informed about the survey and decided to participate in it. Although the results cannot be considered representative of all trans people in the EU, they constitute the largest collection of empirical evidence of its kind to date. 

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