Transgender people still face widespread discrimination in
Europe, for example in gaining access to work, housing and health
services. They are victims of bullying, physical and psychological
violence as well as hate crimes. Severe violations of human rights
occur in relation to legal gender recognition, since procedures
in this regard in most European countries require sterilisation
and divorce as preconditions for recognition.
Awareness of the challenges that transgender people face is
largely insufficient among the general public. However, some progress
has been achieved in policies and legislation in the last few years.
Discrimination on grounds of gender identity is prohibited in a
number of Council of Europe member States through either general or
sectorial anti-discrimination legislation and, in the case of Malta,
such prohibition has even been included in the Constitution.
In some member States, innovative legislation on gender recognition
is under preparation or has recently been adopted. It is based on
self-declaration and does not require applicants to undergo complicated,
humiliating procedures. The emergence in Europe of the right to
gender identity is a positive development and may represent a model
for future national legislations.