Europe has still a long way to go to combat violence against transgender people

European countries should take further steps to protect trans people from violence that has left in excess of a thousand dead worldwide in the past four years, Amnesty International urged on Trans Remembrance Day.

There were 1,083 reported killings of trans people worldwide from 2008 to 2012, with research showing the number of deaths has risen each year. 

Data from the Trans Murder Monitoring show that 64 trans people were killed in Europe from 2008 to date. Yet throughout the continent, only Sweden, Scotland (United Kingdom) and Croatia (as of 1 January 2013) include violent attacks based on gender identity in anti-hate crime legislation.

“Trans people are discriminated against and targeted for violence on the grounds of their gender identity and expression – in Europe and around the world,” said Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s discrimination expert.

“This lack of protection against gender identity-based violence flouts human rights standards, and fails to acknowledge that transphobic hate crime is a form of discrimination”.

“If criminal law fails to acknowledge that hate crimes can happen based on real or perceived gender identity, the hate motive is not thoroughly investigated and prosecuted.”

Hate crime is not the only form of discrimination suffered by trans people. 

In the majority of European countries trans people cannot seek legal recognition of their gender unless they comply with a list of criteria that can include psychiatric diagnosis, sterilisation, genital surgery and divorce. 

Moreover, trans identities are still classified as mental disorders at the international level and frequently at the national.

In countries such as Ireland and Lithuania, gaps in national legislation make it impossible for trans people to legally change their gender. 

In many countries including Belgium, France, Finland, Norway and Turkey trans individuals who do not wish to undergo gender reassignment surgeries and sterilization are not allowed to change the gender on their birth certificate.

“Compulsory requirements such as sterilisation, divorce and gender reassignment treatments upon which gender legal recognition is made dependent, violate the rights of trans people to equality before the law, to private and family life, to freedom from degrading treatments and to the highest attainable standards of health,” said Perolini.


The Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) project (Respect versus Transphobia), which monitors, collects and analyses reports of homicides of trans people worldwide, revealed in November 2012 a total of 1,083 reported killings of trans people in 56 countries worldwide from January 2008 to November 2012. 

Amnesty International refers to transgender, or trans, people as individuals whose gender expression and/or gender identity differs from conventional expectations based on the physical sex they were assigned at birth. Trans is a political umbrella term that is used to describe a wide range of identities, experiences and people whose appearance seem to conflict with the binary gender norms of society, including transsexuals, transgender, travesti, gender queers, cross dressers, drag queens, drag kings and many more.

The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) adopted by the World Health Organization in 1990 includes under the category “gender identity disorders” transsexualism, dual-role transvestitism and gender identity disorder of childhood.  The Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM IV, American Association of Psychiatrists, 1994) includes “gender identity disorders”, “transvestic fetishism”. Amnesty International supports the removal of the classification of gender identities as mental disorders in the DSM and ICD and the reclassification of only those relevant aspects of transgender-related health care in a non-stigmatizing manner to facilitate access to health care.