The UN has documented a range of violations against trans people, including, inter alia, killings, attacks, sexual assault, police violence, arbitrary detention, forced medical treatment, lack of legal gender recognition, abuses of sexual and reproductive rights, as well as discrimination in the areas of education, access to public facilities and services, employment, travel and access to justice. Importantly, UN and regional human rights bodies have linked these violations directly to the continued use of discriminatory diagnostic classifications and other laws and policies that pathologize gender diversity.
Pathologization is the psycho-medical, legal and cultural practice of identifying a feature, an individual or a population as intrinsically disordered. In this sense, trans and gender diverse people are routinely defined as inherently pathological just because of the way in which they identify and express themselves: their gender is normatively defined as a disorder in itself.
GATE and ILGA will be hosting a side event to the 37th Human Rights Council. A panel of experts will discuss how pathologization is a specific root cause for human rights violations, as proposed in the report “Gender is not an illness. How pathologizing trans people violates human rights law.” This approach will be framed in the Yogyakarta Principles and the Yogyakarta Principles plus 10.
Pathologization of LGBT adults and children – branding them as ill based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression – has historically been, and continues to be, one of the root causes behind the human rights violations that they face. It is also an obstacle to overcoming negative attitudes, stereotypes, and the multiple barriers for the realization of LGBT people’ s most fundamental human rights.
Joint statement by UN and regional human rights experts, IDAHOT 2016
This panel will be introduced by Zhan Chiam, ILGA’s Gender Identity and Gender Expression Senior Programme Officer and moderated by Pooja Patel*, ISHR Human Rights Officer & Advocacy Manager. Panel speakers will include Sheherezade Kara*, Human Rights Consultant and Author of the GATE report Gender is not an illness; Eszter Kismodi*, International Human Rights Lawyer; Michael van Gelderen, OHCHR Human Rights Officer; and Mauro Cabral Grinspan**, GATE’s Executive Director.