Article originally published on European Parliament’s LGBTI Intergroup 2 April 2020 – accessible here

Trans and gender-diverse persons continue to face discrimination, harassment and violence throughout the EU. The most recent move in the EU happened on 31 March 2020, Transgender Day of Visibility. Resorting to an omnibus proposal, the ruling Hungarian Fidesz party presented amendments to national laws, among which the civil registration procedure bill allowing for legal gender recognition. The amendment stipulates that the criterion “sex”, previously used to designate legal gender, be changed to “sex at birth” instead. The latter would be determined by primary sex characteristics and chromosomes and ensure that “gender specific rights” must be based on the assigned sex at birth, which cannot be changed during the person’s life.

Marc Angel MEP, Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup in the European Parliament, comments:

This attack on the trans community is outrageous and deliberate. Since 2016, legal gender recognition procedures have been intentionally stalled. Effectively, all procedures for change of name or gender have been suspended since 2018. Since 31 March, the very day we celebrated Trans Day of Visibility, gender recognition procedures are proposed to be banned. This move does not only intentionally silence the trans community – it seeks to erase it and deny its existence. 

Terry Reintke MEP, Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup in the European Parliament, comments:

Fidezs’s latest move is shocking, yet not surprising. The LGBTI community has been continuously exposed to attacks and civil society has been systematically silenced. Rule of law in Hungary has been under threat and this move crystallises yet another abuse of power, this time under the pretext of COVID-19 emergency measures. This amendment lacks any merit or positive effect in any capacity. Legal gender recognition is the baseline for protection of trans persons in Hungary. Without access to it, they are widely exposed to discrimination and harassment. This move is nothing short of intentional abuse. The European community must ensure that it does not go unpunished.