The project “Forging Forward toward Recognition: Documenting Experiences of TRANS* Individuals in the Sphere of Employment” is aiming at collecting data on discrimination faced by the transgender community of Lithuania within the sphere of employment, the first such national assessment of its kind. The collected data will in turn be utilized to develop evidence-based advocacy tools in order to demonstrate the importance of amending the Labor Code to include gender identity as a ground of discrimination to policy and decision makers. The collected data will be also used in sensitizing private and public employers about the challenges faced by trans* individuals in applying for employment and during their actual period of employment. The project is funded by the international organization ILGA-Europe (Ref. No. C-XIV-05).
The legal categories of “gender identity” or “gender expression” do not exist under the Lithuanian legal system. As a result, discrimination on the basis of gender identity is not prohibited as a specific ground under the Law on Equal Opportunities or the Labor Code of Lithuania. Due to the lack of adequate research and analysis in this area, there is no data or other primary resources which provide a comprehensive account of the difficulties faced by transgender individuals in the Lithuanian labor market. Evidence-based advocacy is therefore not wholly viable. Without the utility of in-depth data providing evidence of the true hardships faced by trans* individuals when seeking employment, advocacy upon this topic is hampered and cannot act to efficiently depict the current shortcomings within the field of employment for trans* individuals in Lithuania.
What we are trying to achieve with this project?
Through documenting the experience of trans* individuals in the sphere of employment, LGL will be enabled to establish and develop an evidence-based advocacy strategy that will act to highlight the difficulties faced by such individuals within the Lithuanian labor market. The objective of such a strategy is to expedite the inclusion of “gender identity” as a ground of prohibited discrimination under the Law on Equal Opportunities and the Labor Code of Lithuania. This will act to not only sensitize public and private employers as to the obstacles to employment faced by trans* persons, it will additionally act to allow for redress and increased access to the legal system should a trans* person suffer discrimination in the sphere of employment.
How we are going to do it?
By developing an evidence-based advocacy strategy LGL shall be equipped to effectively present and publish the hardship of the day-to-day circumstances for trans* individuals in the employment field to decision makers, policy implementers, employers and the general public. The findings will act to evidence how the current social and legal situation is not at all satisfactory and fall beyond the European legal stance taken in both case law and legislative enactments. This will encourage policy shapers and the national authorities to take action in changing the current situation so as to abate such challenges for trans* citizens. Having documented stories of discrimination, there will be no ability to deny the challenges faced. Legal changes will also act to sensitize employers to their new imperative of ensuring the equal treatment of all members of their workforce under the law, regardless of their gender identity or gender expression.
What will be the results of the project?
- one (1) training for the lawyers of the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson on prohibition of discrimination on grounds of gender identity in the field of employment;
- ten (10) in-depth interviews with transgender people from Lithuania about their experiences in the field of employment;
- one (1) publication in Lithuanian on experiences of transgender people from Lithuania in the field of employment and applicable legal standards;
- one (1) summary publication in English on experiences of transgender people from Lithuania in the field of employment and applicable legal standards;
- one round-table discussion with the representatives from the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson, the Committee on Social Affairs and Labor of the Parliament and the Ministry of Social Security and Labor on prohibition of discrimination on grounds of gender identity in the field of employment.
This project is supported by the ILGA-Europe Advocacy and Documentation Fund.