By Annette Chrysostomou
OMBUDSWOMAN Eliza Savvidou has submitted recommendations for a new institutional framework supporting transgender persons, helping them to legally define themselves according to their own self-definition.
Trans persons still become victims of systematic discrimination, negative stereotyping, intimidation and even violent attacks, Savvidou said on the occasion of international transgender day of remembrance (TDOR) marked on November 20.
“As the authority against discrimination, I have repeatedly stressed that the duty of a democratic state is the equal treatment of all citizens regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity,” she said.
“I have submitted”, she added, “certain positions and recommendations on the need for an institutional framework that puts in place fast and transparent administrative procedures through which transgender people can officially change their sex and their name, based on how they define their self, in all their official documents.”
“These procedures should in no circumstances require sterilisation or other mandatory medical treatment, such as hormone treatment or sex reassignment surgery, but should be based on the conscious choice of a person to adopt the opposite sex,” she continued.
“Furthermore, making extensive reference to the relevant case law of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), that trans persons should, if they wish, have full access to sex reassignment procedures.”
“Incidents victimising this group of people,” she stressed, “are not assessed and not recorded as transphobic crimes and their severity and brutality is often underestimated.”
As a result, crimes against trans persons are hushed up especially as the victims are reluctant to turn to the authorities for fear of being exposed to derision, scorn and further victimisation.
The ombudswoman announced that in her next speech, she will address the issue of how the police should address transphobic incidents.