Hungary’s parliament voted Tuesday to ban transgender people from changing their gender on identity documents causing many to consider what once was unthinkable.
The legislature voted 133 to 57 to replace the Hungarian word “Nemre”, meaning sex or gender, with “sex at birth” on birth, marriage, and death certificates.
Every one of us who has lived with an ID that does not match our appearance knows what it means to be unemployable and homeless. The vote Tuesday effectively banishes trans people from normality, regulating all who must live authentically once again to the shadows at the very fringe of society.
And of course, Hungary’s ultra-right-wing government denies the law targets transgender or intersex people.
“The state’s decision … to register children’s biological sex in their birth certificates does not affect men’s and women’s right to freely experience and exercise their identities as they wish,” the government’s communications office said.
“We have no words to describe what we feel,” Krisztina Orban, Co-Chair of Transgender Europe and vice president of the advocacy group Transvanilla Transgender Association, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“People who haven’t had suicidal thoughts for decades now are having them. People are in a panic, people want to escape from Hungary to somewhere else where they can get their gender recognized,” said Orban.
Tamas Dombos, a board member of the Hungarian LGBT Alliance, said activists would lobby the president, an ally of Orban’s, not to sign the bill into law.
Transylvania posted a statement which reads in part:
Today, the Hungarian Parliament voted in favor of a bill that would eliminate the possibility of gender and name change (non-legal recognition) in the country.”
All this is contrary to international and domestic human rights norms and violates the right to self-determination. The 2015 resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recommends that Member States introduce fast, transparent and accessible self-determination procedures that allow transgender people to change their first name and registered gender in their records.
In addition, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has established a system of obligations for European countries regarding the legal recognition of gender identity. In the practical implementation of these obligations, special emphasis should also be placed on human rights considerations.
According to previous rulings of the Constitutional Court, gender and name change is a fundamental human right for transgender people.
In the absence of legal recognition, stigma permeates all areas of life, often resulting in the complete economic and social exclusion of trans people.
We are launching a petition asking the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to condemn the Hungarian Government’s action and to use all the means at its disposal to ensure that the fundamental rights of the Hungarian trans and intersex people are not violated! You can sign here: Show your support for Hungarian trans and intersex people!