Conclusions and recommendations

AuthorDirectorate-General for Justice and Consumers (European Commission), ICF
Legal gender recognition in the EU: the journeys of trans people towards full equality
June 2020
10 Conclusions and Recommendations of this study
10.1 Conclusions
This study had two key objectives: 1) providing an overview of the situation of
transgender people in the EU and 2) understanding whether there is a positive
correlation between inclusive policies allowing for Legal Gender Recognition (LGR) and
the well-being of transgender people.
To achieve those tw o main objectives, the study consulted a total of 1,015 adults who
identified as transgender across the 27 EU Member States and the UK, in addition to
conducting a literature review, legal research an d a quantitative an alysis of available
data. The results of these activities brought a wealth of insights into the challenges and
barriers t ransgender people face across Europe from coming out, going through LGR
and living fully in their own gender in society with respect and dignity.
10.1.1 Coming out a challenging and ongoing process
Exploring one’s gend er identity and coming out is a highly personal and individual
experience. For trans individuals, it can be long, complex and interactive. The
experience of coming out for example, how close family members and friends react
and whether employers and co -workers are supportive has a crucial impact on the
social inclusion of trans individuals. Coming out and, in particular transitioning, is a time
where trans people can be particularly vulnerable to discrimination, bullying and
harassment. Negative experiences of coming out can lead to trans young people
dropping out of school or not pursuing higher education, and trans people being
dismissed from work.
Most trans individuals become conscious of their gender identity before the age of 18,
meaning that they become aware of their gender identity at school. The study has shown
that there can be a gap between trans individuals becoming conscious of their gender
identity and first telling somebody about it. Many trans individuals will delay coming out
to their family as a teenager, due to fears about their reaction and their financial
dependence on the family.
The lack of understanding and stigma surrounding being trans is an important
barrier to coming out and a driver of discrimination. Bullying, harassment and violence
based on gende r identity in educati onal settings were widely reported by trans people
in this study, including verbal and physical abuse. The largest share of verbal abuse and
physical abuse was experienced by participants when they were aged 11 to 18.
According to FRA data, between 15% and 37% of trans individuals (dependin g on their
gender identity group) had experienced negative comments/conduct ‘always’ or ‘often’.
The FRA results suggest that a substantial proportion of trans individuals with different
gender identities may not have come out at school. Many participants in our study chose
not to disclose their ge nder identity to t heir fellow students and staff , due to f ear of
bullying and not being supported. Educational settings can be particularly problematic
for young trans people. Participants often reported that bullying and violence happened
with teachers’ knowledge, with a lack of intervention to prevent bullying and protection
of these students being commonplace.
Most EU Memb er States do n ot require teachers to receive training on how to sup port
trans students. The IGLYO Inclusive Education Index (2018) shows that only three
Member States have mandatory teache r training on LGBTQI awareness. Within this
training, it is unclear if and to what extent transgender students’ needs are considered.
Trans individuals commonly do not receive information at school on gender identity
and what it means to be transgender, looking instead to the internet and other sources.
This situation can make it harder for them to feel supported to explore their gende r
identity and to come out.
Legal gender recognition in the EU: the journeys of trans people towards full equality
June 2020
Stereotypical portrayals of trans people, as well as binary gender stereotypes,
remain prevalent in society, including in education. This can lead to stereotypical
attitudes and perceptions of gender from a young age. All children should be taught to
recognise stereotypes and to understand gender identity. Informing children and young
people may lead to more respect f or trans people and better equip them to support
trans people when coming out in education and in later life. Gender stereotypes can be
especially harmful to trans people who may not fit into binary gender norms and can
lead to ha rassment and discrimination, particularly for non-binary, gend erqueer,
gender-fluid individuals, as well as othe r trans individuals who are not perceived as
Many t rans individuals will choose not to be open about their gender id entity and/or
their transgender history in the workplace. For example, the FRA LGBTI survey suggests
that between 19.3% and 50.7% of trans individuals (depending on their identity) stated
that they were ‘never’ open about being transgender with people that they meet at work
(EU-28 average, 2019). Our study similarly found that around four in 10 trans people
are not open about their gender identity at work. Fear of discrimination, harassment
or prejudice in the workplace was the most commonly stated reason for those
Due to mismatching identification documents, many people are forced to come out
as trans in public places, with potential employers or when in contact with public
services. Trans persons often report that this mi smatch is highly stressful and can lead
to discrimination, harassment or even violence against them. For instance, in this study,
trans individuals report being rejected from j ob interviews, having trouble using
employment services and having problems with background checks and references, due
to mismatching documents. Generally, participants reported that their experiences in
the workplace were strongly influenced by the policies and processes in place to support
transgender people, and the attitud es of their employers. It is thus key to support and
protect trans individuals as they transition, as well as to challenge the attitudes of those
who are discriminatory and to provide for an easier system for docum ent-changing.
Due to the lack of awareness amongst the general public on trans identi ties, trans
people particularly those with non-binary identities report that they frequently and
repeatedly have to act as educators, for individuals ranging from their f amilies and
friends to employers, civil officials, healthcare professionals and others.
As a result of these findings, we recommend s everal key actions aimed at promoting
respect for transgender people, education and awareness-raising on trans identities and
rights in all levels of education and in wider society under Recommendation 1.
10.1.2 LGR the conditions to acc ess the procedure con stitute key barriers
for transgender people to live fully in their gender
Legal gender recognition (LGR) is the procedure through which an individual can change
their name an d gender marker in official registers and documentation. LGR allows the
gender identity of trans individuals to be reflected in their legal an d administrative
documents and thus respected by the wider public.
Currently, 22209 EU Member States, and the UK, have established clear legislation to
allow individuals t o go through L GR. The remaining five EU countri es210 do not have
any such legislation, although courts have recognised some LGR applications on a case-
by-case basis. The conditions for the procedure vary widely between countries and may
encompass medical, judicial, civil and/or administrative requirements. In 20 14,
Denmark became the first EU Member State to permit an individual to legally determine
209 Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece,
Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia,
Spain, Sweden, UK.
210 Bulgaria, Cyprus, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania.

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