The right to gender identity is implemented through two mayor procedures, namely – through the possibility of changing one’s identity documents and through the provision of trans* specific health care. In case these procedures are interdependent, i.e. legal gender recognition is not possible without compulsory medical requirements, there is a high chance that human rights standards for transgender individuals are being violated. This unfortunate situation might be complicated even further, if the public authorities impose impossible to fulfill requirements upon transgender individuals, i.e. there is no possibility of obtaining trans* specific health care within the framework of the national health care system.
At the moment Lithuania is the ONLY member state within the framework of the Council of Europe, which does not provide for either de facto or de jure procedure of gender reassignment. Upon concluding the gender reassignment treatment abroad, transgender individuals are forced to apply before the national courts with the view of obtaining corresponding identity documents. This practice can be criticized on two different grounds. First of all, perspective of costly and lengthy litigation before the national courts cannot be considered as fulfilling the requirement of quick, transparent and accessible gender reassignment procedure . Secondly, in order to change one’s identity documents, transgender people are forced to undergo the full gender reassignment procedure, including, inter alia, the ultimate gender reassignment surgery. The fact that not all transgender people want to change their gender surgically is being ignored. However, the corresponding identity documents are necessary for all transgender individuals with the view of leading social life free of discrimination, harassment and violence.
In response to this worrying situation, the National LGBT* Rights Organization LGL is implementing
Social campaign with the view of increasing public awareness about TRANS* specific issues
November, 2015 – January, 2016
Within the framework of the awareness raising campaign “#TRANS_LT” the following activities are going to be implemented:
(1) Development and production of the first social videos, exclusively dedicated to the topic of transgender human rights. The real members of the Lithuanian transgender community are featured in the videos. Our TRANS* friends will be telling about their experiences and challenges, faced on a daily basis due to the non-existing procedure of legal gender recognition.
(2) In cooperation with the online human rights platform manoteises.lt, the online petition will be launched, seeking to encourage the Lithuanian legislators and policy makers to establish quick, transparent and accessible gender reassignment procedure. The signatories of the petition will be delivered to the Lithuanian Parliament and other relevant stakeholders during the Parliament’s spring session.
(3) Public events, dedicated to raising awareness about TRANS* specific topics, will be organized. On December 8th, 2015 (i.e. Tuesday) the community members, the legislators, decision makers and policy implementers and the members of the general public will be invited to the community event “#TRANS_LT” at the art gallery „5 malūnai“ (Malūnų str. 5, Vilnius), where the first TRANS* specific videos will be launched. In the course of the event, the art exhibition “TRANZ” by the artists Arcana Femina and Shaltmira will be opened as well. On December 9th, 2015 (i.e. on Wednesday) together with the National Equality and Diversity Forum (NEDF) we will be organizing the seminar-discussion “Human Rights in Lithuania. NGOs’ Perspective“. In the course of the seminar, the possibility of introducing the quick, transparent and accessible gender reassignment procedure in Lithuania will be explored.
(4) On December 9th, 2015 (i.e. on Wednesday) the meeting with the members of the Lithuanian Parliament will be organized. In the course of the meeting the representatives from the civil society, i.e. the Human Rights Monitoring Institute (HRMI), the National LGBT* Rights Organization LGL and TGEU – Transgender Europe, together with the legislators will discuss the prospects of effectively implementing the international human rights standards for transgender individuals in Lithuania.
(5) On December 10th, 2015 (on Thursday) the experts from TGEU – Transgender Europe will conduct a capacity building training for the representatives of the association LGL and other interested civil society organizations with the view of increasing their capacities in advocating for quick, accessible and transparent TRANS* specific health care.
We are hopeful that the successfully implemented social campaign “#TRANS_LT“ with the view of increasing public awareness about TRANS* specific issues will contribute to the progress of transgender human rights in Lithuania.