Parliamentary Assembly Of The Council Of Europe
Forty First Ordinary Session
Recommendation 1117 (1989) on the condition of transsexuals.

The Assembly,

  1. Considering that transsexualism is a syndrome characterised by a dual personality, one physical, the other psychological, together with such a profound conviction of belonging to the other sex that the transsexual person is prompted to ask for the corresponding bodily "correction" to be made;

  2. Considering that modern medical progress, and in particular recourse to sexual conversion surgery, enable transsexuals to be given the appearance and, to a great extent, the characteristics of the sex opposite to that which appears on their birth certificate;

  3. Observing that this treatment is of a nature to bring the physical sex and the psychological sex into harmony with one another, and so give such persons a sexual identity which, moreover, constitutes a decisive feature of their personality;

  4. Believing that account of the changes brought about should be taken in the transsexual's civil status records by adding such details to the original record so as to update the data concerning sex in the birth certificate and identity papers, and by authorising a subsequent change of forename;

  5. Considering that a refusal of such amendment of the civil status papers exposes persons in this situation to the risk of being obliged to reveal to numerous people the reasons for the discrepancy between their physical appearance and legal status;

  6. Noting that transsexualism raises relatively new and complex questions to which states are called upon to find answers compatible with respect for human rights;

  7. Observing that, in the absence of specific rules, transsexuals are often the victims of discrimination and violation of their private life;

  8. Considering, furthermore, that the legislation of many member states is seriously deficient in this area, and does not permit transsexuals, particularly those who have undergone an operation, to have civil status amendments made to take account of their appearance, external morphology, psychology and social behaviour;

  9. Considering the case-law of the European Commission and Court of Human Rights;

  10. Referring to the resolution which the European Parliament adopted on 12 September 1989, in which, among other things, it called on the Council of Europe to enact a convention for the protection of transsexuals;

  11. Recommends that the Committee of Ministers draw up a recommendation inviting member states to introduce legislation whereby, in the case of irreversible transsexualism:

Appendix II
on discrimination against transsexuals

The European Parliament,

  1. Believes that human dignity and personal rights must include the right to live according to one's sexual identity;

  2. Calls on the Member States to enact provisions on transsexuals' right to change sex by endocrinological, plastic surgery, and cosmetic treatment, on the procedure, and banning discrimination against them;

    The procedure should offer the following possibilities as a minimum:

  3. Calls on the Council of Europe to enact a convention for the protection of transsexuals;

  4. Calls on the Member States to ensure that the cost of psychological, endocrinological, plastic surgical and cosmetic treatment of transsexuals is reimbursed by the health insurance institutions;

  5. Calls on the Member States to grant public assistance to transsexuals who have through no fault of their own lost their jobs and/or accommodation because of the sexual adaptation;

  6. Calls on the Member States to set up advice centres for transsexuals and to give financial support for self-help organisations;

  7. Calls on the Member States to disseminate information on the problems of transsexuals, especially among the staff of their social services, police, frontier authorities, registration offices, military authorities and prison services;

  8. Calls on the Commission, the Council and the Member States to make it clear that Community directives governing the equality of men and women at the workplace also outlaw discrimination against transsexuals;

  9. Calls on the Commission, the Council and the Member States to devise identity documents which could be recognised throughout the Community and in which, where applicable, the holder's transsexuality could be indicated during the period of sexual adaptation if so requested;

  10. Calls on the Council and the Member States, when harmonising the right of asylum, to recognise persecution on the grounds of transsexuality as grounds for asylum;

  11. Calls on the Commission to make funds available under its aid programmes for further study of transsexuality in the medical field;

  12. Calls on the Commission to urge the Member States to adopt special measures to find employment for transsexuals;

  13. Calls for the setting-up of an office at the Commission to which cases of discrimination may be reported;

  14. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Council of Europe.

Click here to return to Politics and TS Rights page.