LGBT rights are human rights, says Ban Ki-moon

Submitted by Stephanie Stevens /

Transgender Equality Network Ireland, Ireland


Press Release

Transgender Equality Network Ireland

May 2013


LGBT rights are human rights, says Ban Ki-moon

"The United Nations has one simple message to the millions of LGBT people around the world," says Ban Ki-moon. "You are not alone."

The UN Human Rights Office has released a video message to mark 2013's International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT).

In the video <> , UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voice strong messages of support for LGBT People.Their message: "LGBT rights are human rights. Together we will build a world that is free and equal." The UN Secretary-General will also issue a written statement on the fight against transphobia and homophobia on 16 May on the occasion of the International IDAHOT Forum in The Netherlands. The UN High Commissioner will be giving a keynote speech on the same topic on 17 May in The Hague.

The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) is celebrated in more than 100 countries. It was created in 2004 to raise awareness of current prejudice against LGBT people. It is marked each year on 17 May, the date in 1990 on which the World Health Organisation declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. In current medical diagnostic manuals, transgender people are still classified as having a mental illness. In ten EU countries, trans people must undergo sterilization in order to gain their basic human rights.

According to the Trans Murder Monitoring Project, there have been 1123 reported killings of trans people in 57 countries worldwide in the four-year period between January 1 2008 - Dec 31 2012. For further details see:

This year, TENI is monitoring hate crime against trans people as part of a major European project run by ILGA-Europe. TENI's STAD campaign calls for people to report instances of abuse, assault or discrimination. Since 19 March 2013, TENI has received more than 40 reports from victims of and witnesses to crimes. The most recent incident was reported from Midleton, where on a Sunday morning a trans woman was walking from the train station to visit her mother. A man followed her and then put his hands on her and turned her around, using abusive language and calling her a 'trannie-freak'. The woman said, "I have not felt comfortable to visit my mother in my hometown by myself since." For further details on the campaign see

"Safety is one of our most basic needs," said TENI Director Broden Giambrone. "IDAHOT gives us an opportunity to think critically about how LGBT people experience daily life in Ireland. We're members of society: we have families, we work and study and pay taxes. Our STAD campaign is revealing the violence that many trans people suffer - simply because of who they are. IDAHOT is about visibility: we share experiences in order to increase understanding of our common humanity."

In failing to have a legal pathway to recognise the gender of transgender people, Ireland remains in breach of the EU Convention of Human Rights. Over five years ago High Court Justice McKechnie declared Ireland to be in breach of the EU Convention and called on Ireland to address the matter. Ireland is the last State in Europe to legislate to recognise transgender people. In 2011, a inter-departmental government group released proposals for Gender Recognition legislation, which would controversially force married people to divorce and would force people to be diagnosed with a mental illness.

"For TENI, as for Ban-Ki Moon and Navy Pillay, this is a matter of human rights," said Giambrone. "Trans people have been ignored and marginalised in society, and we need to change that. At the moment, the trans community has a suicide attempt rate of 40% - the figures are shocking. We work with families and with adults of all ages across the country who are just trying to live their lives. They're not asking for special rights. They just want to be treated as human beings."


Contact TENI on (01) 873 3575 or email

TENI’s Director Broden Giambrone is available for interview, and can be contacted on 087 1359816.

See for information on support groups and health resources in Ireland.


Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) seeks to improve conditions and advance the rights and equality of trans people and their families. TENI works in four main areas: support, education, advocacy and capacity building. <>


The obligation to legally recognise the gender identity of transgender people arises from Ireland's commitments under both international and European human rights law.

In 2008, the UN Human Rights Committee recommended that Ireland "recognise the right of transgender persons to a change of gender by permitting the issuance of new birth certificates". In 2010 the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe called upon Member States to "take appropriate measures to guarantee the full legal recognition of a person's gender reassignment in all areas of life, in particular by making possible the change of name and gender in official documents".

Dr Lydia Foy first asked for her birth certificate in 1993. In October 2007 Justice McKechnie found in her favour. He expressed frustration at the failure of the Irish Government to take any action following his urgent plea in 2002, when he stated that “Ireland as of now is very much isolated within the Member States of the Council of Europe ... [and] must be even further disconnected from mainstream thinking”. The then-Government appealed Justice McKechnie's ruling, finally withdrew their appeal in June 2010. The inter-departmental 'Gender Recognition Advisory Group' was established in May 2010 and published recommendations for Gender Recognition legislation in July 2011.

There is still no pathway for legal recognition in Ireland.


Stay informed
For media
You are here: Home > Guide to Europe > Country-by-country > Ireland > LGBT rights are human...