Author Archives: Andreas R. Ziegler

USA: New York Assembly approves bill creating gender-neutral option on driver’s licenses

USA: New York Assembly approves bill creating gender-neutral option on driver’s licenses

The New York State Assembly approved the Gender Recognition Act Thursday, which, if approved by the governor, will provide for the “sex designation of M, F, or X as certified by the applicant [for a driver’s license], with no additional documentation required.”

In addition to creating a gender-neutral designation for applicants’ sex, the bill provides that an individual “may amend the sex designation of their identification card upon request.” An individual may petition the court in their county to recognize their gender identity by submitting an affidavit confirming their gender identity or giving a reason for the change in their designation. The court may not require any additional medical evidence before granting the request.

Minors may also petition through a parent or guardian for a change in gender or sex designation. An individual who states that they wish to change their designation to conform to their gender identity and not “for any fraudulent purpose” is entitled to a new birth certificate, which “if accompanied by a court order for a change of name,” may also include a new chosen name. Parents may also choose to be designated on birth certificates as “mother,” “father,” or “parent.”

The legislation is a step towards recognizing individuals who identify outside of the gender binary and individuals who are transgender but may not have started treatment. If approved by Governor Andrew Cuomo, it will be effective 180 days after becoming a law.

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LGBT reports and instruments from the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities (Council of Europe)

LGBT reports and instruments from the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities (Council of Europe)

Posted: 20 Jun 2021 10:56 AM PDT – (c) ECHR Sexual Orientation Blog

The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities – an institution of the Council of Europe, responsible for strengthening local and regional democracy in its 47 member states – has issued two comprehensive reports concerning LGBT+ issues, and a Recommendation and two Resolutions.

Protection of LGBTI people in the context of rising anti-LGBTI hate speech and discrimination: the role of local and regional authorities

This report draws attention to the situation of LGBTI people and the increasing contestation of their rights recognition and identity, reminding local and regional authorities that the protection of these rights is essential to strengthen social cohesion and democracy. It outlines different ways in which backsliding on international commitments or adopted legislation in this respect occurs and examines how this negative trend has affected the lives of LGBTI people, paying particular attention to the health and well-being of LGBTI youth. The report also provides good practice examples from cities and regions that have adopted policies and legislation and taken action in defense of LGBTI people’s rights.

In a resolution, the Congress reminds local and regional authorities of their role in fighting hatred and discrimination against LGBTI people and the violations of their rights. It calls on them to mainstream LGBTI equality in their policies and to introduce legislation forbidding hate speech and crimes, inviting them to monitor progress of these policies through data collection. The report provides local and regional authorities with concrete policy recommendations to promote the social rights, inclusion, and well-being of LGBTI citizens and to ensure the safety of LGBTI youth at school.

In a recommendation, the Congress invites governments of member States to develop national action plans on anti-discrimination and LGBTI inclusion and to gather data regarding these issues, in addition to implementing the recommendations, resolutions and judgements of Council of Europe bodies.

The role of local authorities with regard to the situation and rights of LGBTI people in Poland

This report considers that, since 2019, over 90 Polish local and regional authorities have passed resolutions declaring themselves free from so-called “LGBT-ideology” or adopted “Local government Charters of the Rights of the Family”, amid an increasingly polarised debate around issues related to LGBTI people and growing hate speech towards them. To understand these developments, and at the request of two members of the Polish Parliament, the Congress mandated a delegation to carry out a remote fact-finding mission, which took place from 2 to 3 November 2020. It met with interlocutors from the Polish government, the Ombudsman, national and sub-national elected representatives as well as NGOs.

In a resolution, drawing upon the conclusions of the fact-finding report adopted by the Current Affairs Committee on 17 February 2021, the Congress calls on Polish local and regional authorities to withdraw all declarations and resolutions against so-called “LGBT ideology” and all analogous texts regardless of their title. Moreover, the Congress urges local and regional authorities in Poland to ensure the protection of vulnerable groups, with particular attention to the deleterious impact of hate speech on the lives of LGBTI people.

No agreement reached on EEA and Norway Grants funding for Hungary

No agreement reached on EEA and Norway Grants funding for Hungary

Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide

The donor countries and Hungary failed to agree on how the funding for civil society was to be administered. Therefore no funding will be provided to Hungary for the implementation of programmes during the current period, and Hungary looses access to the approximately NOK 2.3 billion allocated to Hungary under the EEA and Norway Grants scheme.

‘I can confirm that after a long and comprehensive process we have been unable to reach agreement. In our view, funding under the EEA and Norway Grants scheme could have been very beneficial, particularly in providing support for civil society in Hungary, as well as in  boosting innovation in the business, energy and climate sectors, and promoting minority rights,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.

‘The donor countries have set as an absolute requirement for all of the 15 beneficiary countries that the fund for civil society must be administered independently of the authorities. Hungary has accepted this, but has not accepted the appointment of the best-qualified candidate for the task. We have therefore been unable to reach agreement, and under the conditions set out in the MoU we signed with Hungary in December 2020, no programmes will be implemented in Hungary under the EEA and Norway Grants scheme during this period,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.

Negotiations with Hungary on how the roughly NOK 2.3 billion in funding set aside for Hungary was to be used began in 2016. The MoUs, which were finally signed on 21 December 2020, contain a clause stating that no programmes can be approved until an independent fund operator for civil society funding has been appointed. It has not been possible to reach agreement on a fund operator by the agreed deadline of 21 July. As a result, there will be no implementation of the planned programmes.

‘The fund operator for civil society funding is responsible for managing more than NOK 100 million in funding, and is to ensure that this funding is used to strengthen civil society, promote active citizenship and support vulnerable groups. The donor countries must make sure that the best candidate for the task is selected. We have not reached agreement with Hungary on this point,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.

The donor countries, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, have been united in the process and remain committed to the principle that the best qualified candidate must be appointed.



Hong Kong gay couple wins High Court battle as judge rules ‘oppressively unfair’ subsidised housing policy discriminatory

Hong Kong gay couple wins High Court battle as judge rules ‘oppressively unfair’ subsidised housing policy discriminatory

  • The case brought by Henry Li and the now-deceased Edgar Ng, centred on the married couple’s ability to live together in a Home Ownership Scheme flat
  • Justice Anderson Chow rules Housing Authority ‘singularly failed’ to produce reliable evidence to substantiate argument


27 States (including Switzerland) called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to urgently protect the human rights of trans people, especially trans women

27 States (including Switzerland) called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to urgently protect the human rights of trans people, especially trans women

In a historic first, on 28 June 2021 27 States (including Switzerland) called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to urgently protect the human rights of trans people, especially trans women, 5 NGOs said. States also urged governments to work with trans-led organisations to raise awareness about the specific situations facing their communities.

The statement was delivered by Chile on behalf of the 27 UN member States from the newly formed Group of Friends of the mandate of the UN Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity* during the Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences.

“Around the world,” Chile told the Human Rights Council on behalf of the group, “transgender and other gender diverse people face extraordinary levels of violence and harassment. We call upon member States, as a matter of urgency, to respect, to protect and to fulfil the human rights of transgender persons – especially transgender women, given the population’s historic marginalisation – by investigating rights violations and abuses, ensuring accountability, implementing effective antidiscrimination legislation and policies, and providing victims with direct access to an effective remedy and support services.”

This is an historic step forward for the global trans community”, said APTN, GATE, ILGA World, RFSL, and TGEU, the organisations hosting the fifth edition of UN Trans Advocacy Week. “For the first time, States have taken the lead in recognising the historic injustices that people with diverse gender identities and expressions are still facing every day, and are pushing their own governments and others to work with civil society to raise awareness.”

Civil society has worked for years to highlight how persistent stigma and prejudice contribute to the vulnerability of trans and gender diverse people, pushing them into the margins of society and the labour market.  At the same time, the criminalisation of their identities fosters a climate of impunity for acts of violence against them, translating in a ‘perfect storm’ of human rights violations.

Research shows that there has been a steady increase in the global number of reported murders of trans and gender diverse people, with at least 3,664 murders documented since 2008.

As UN member States pointed out, trans women are “at heightened risk of and exposure to violence, killings, and other human rights violations and abuses.” Data from 2019 and 2020 show that 98% of those murdered globally were trans women or trans feminine people. In all likelihood, there are many more cases that risk not being reported at all.

Adding to this violence, trans and gender diverse people are also in the line of fire on other fronts, targeted both by anti-rights and anti-gender actors that seek to revert gender equality gains.

During the 47th session of the Human Rights Council, women and LGBTI human rights defenders will come together for an event to reflect on the importance of building bridges, creating relationships of solidarity, and sharing examples of intersectional feminist action.

“We must remember that feminist and LGBTI struggles are intrinsically linked, despite hostile narratives claiming otherwise”, Trans Advocacy Week co-organisers pointed out. “States must create safe environments for people who do not conform to society’s gender norms.”

This is a joint statement by

  • ILGA World – The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association
  • GATE – Trans, Gender Diverse and Intersex Advocacy in Action
  • TGEU – Transgender Europe
  • APTN – Asia Pacific Transgender Network