Transgender Rights, Some Countries Ahead Of The U.S.
Feb 27, 2017 11:37 AM EST
About 20 countries around the world appear to have some form of legislation recognizing the rights of transgender people, surpassing the U.S. As the people group fight for basic civil liberties globally, more legislators and courts grapple with the seriousness of addressing transgender rights, given the issue of gender identity and inclusion.
Argentina and Denmark seem to top the gender rights recognition reform among other countries. The Gender Identity Law was approved by the Argentine Senate in 2012, making sex-change surgery a legal right and even adding the surgical provision to public and private health care plans.
Two years later, the Transgender Europe reported that the Danish Parliament followed Argentina's footsteps by allowing legal gender recognition for transgender people over 18 of age, a decision made on their own without any medical intervention. Denmark is the only European country that recognizes transgender rights, while not requiring any psychiatric diagnoses or certificates of recognition from medical professionals.
Similarly, the Malta government adopted the Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sex Characteristics Act in 2015 to promote transgender rights. Advocates say the law pivots away from viewing gender identity as a pathology in need of a diagnosis as the law states people "shall not be required to provide proof of a surgical procedure for total or partial genital reassignment, hormonal therapies or any other psychiatric, psychological or medical treatment."
Meanwhile in Iran, religious leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, issued a "fatwa" permitting sexual reassignment surgery in 1987. While the government allows and subsidizes gender reassignment surgery, the law utterly fails to recognize transgender people who do not undergo medical intervention, international human rights organization Outright Action International said.
Another surprising transgender rights recognition happened in India, during the landmark vote in 2014. India's Supreme Court granted the country's "hijra" (transgender people) and those classified as third-gender, the transgender rights to self-identify without sex reassignment surgery. Under the ruling, the transgender people can now receive equal access to education, health care, employment, and protection from discrimination.
Although transgender people have received increasingly gaining legislative protections for transgender rights, laws can't always protect them from the social stigma and the risks they face. The dangers persist, especially in the U.S. the deeper psychological trauma that the trans individuals suffer from remain unaddressed. Only last year, deaths of 27 transgender people werer reported in the United States, the deadliest year on record.