[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official profile] released a video statement for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Core Group Ministerial Event on Thursday calling for an end to transphobia and homophobia [press release]. The UN has led by example in this arena, introducing measures to ensure fairer treatment of gay and lesbian UN staff [Huffington Post report] and their families, as well as introducing the Free & Equal Campaign [official website]. The campaign is a project of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] to raise awareness of violence and discrimination against LGBT people, and to promote fair treatment and generate support for measures to protect their rights. Ban urged governments not to back down from difficult discussions, and to protect the rights of all people everywhere–regardless of who they are or love.
The rights and identity of transgender individuals [JURIST op-ed] is a topic of legal debate around the world. In July Italy’s Constitutional court ruled that an Italian law that annuls a marriage once a partner undergoes a sex change operation is against the national interest [JURIST report] because the couple may desire to stay together. In June a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio mandated the permanent reinstatement of hormone treatments [JURIST report] for a transgender Ohio prison inmate who complained about losing her breast tissue, growing facial hair, and suffering other related symptoms after treatments were stopped. In April the Supreme Court of India issued a ruling recognizing the country’s large transgender population as a legal third gender [JURIST report]. In so ruling the court ordered that the government ensure that transgender people are not discriminated against and are eligible for government jobs and education in the same way as it does with other minority groups. It also ordered that the government take steps to promote awareness and to ensure that they are provided with proper medical treatment and public facilities. In February Amnesty International asserted that European countries are violating human rights [JURIST report] of people trying to change their legal gender and discriminating against transgender individuals in a report entitled “The State Decides Who I Am.”