New report from ILGA World details at least 13 UN member states criminalise trans people

The Trans Legal Mapping Report details the impact of laws and policies on trans persons in 143 UN member states across the globe.

A person on a hill looks out over a distant city

The recently released Trans Legal Mapping Report by ILGA World (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) has detailed the current situation for trans communities worldwide in regards to human rights and legal issues.

Coordinator and co-author of the report, Zhan Chiam, said, “To date, at least 13 UN member States worldwide explicitly criminalise trans persons, but we know that a much wider range of laws is used to target them in many more countries. 

Evidence collected from communities on the ground highlights how measures related to public nuisance, indecency, morality, loitering, sex work-related offences, and consensual same-sex activity amongst others are actively deployed for the same purpose. The systemic targeting of trans people using seemingly innocuous laws is just as damaging as so-called ‘cross dressing’ regulations which overtly target gender expressions.”

The report details that while important advances have been made in regard to legal gender recognition, some have met with considerable backlash. Chiam continued, “In every region of the world where we have been documenting legal gender recognition, regressions have occurred, often in the form of so-called ‘gender ideology’, the emergence of exclusionary movements, and right-wing politicians positing LGBT against national identities.”

ILGA World describe how “together with an uninterrupted wave of violence and murders that continue to tamper with people of diverse gender identities and expressions worldwide, these attacks have all had detrimental effects on our communities”.

Jabulani Pereira, Chair of the Trans Committee at ILGA World, stated, “It is a difficult time for trans persons globally, which is reflected in the regression or stagnation in legal gender recognition rights in every continent. We continue to push against repressive state laws, and at the same time we will need many more studies that celebrate our challenges and gains in our right to self-determination, our right to gender-affirming care and to live in a world that does not systemically and physically harm us.”

Key findings from the report which analyses the situation in 143 UN member States and 19 other jurisdictions include:

  • At least 13 UN member States criminalise trans persons, mostly with “cross-dressing” laws. These are: Brunei, the Gambia, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malawi, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, South Sudan, Tonga, and the United Arab Emirates.
  • Legal gender recognition is available in at least 96 UN member States worldwide.
  • At least 25 UN member States allow for legal gender recognition without prohibitive requirement.
  • Since 2018, 9 UN member States (or jurisdictions within them) have introduced legal gender recognition processes without abusive preconditions: Australia (some States), Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, France, Greece, Luxembourg, and Portugal.

For further information, read the full report here.

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