14/02/2010 | Writer: KAOS GL

Council of Europe
February 10, 2010

Below is a speech made by Ms. Nursuna Memecan a Turkish member of parliament in the January session of the Parliamentary assembly at Council of Europe, when they were debating the Gross Report on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity discrimination.

Mr Gross's report as a whole has a strong awareness-raising dimension on discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. We unfairly tend to judge people on who they are, and we tend to have negative attitudes towards people who are "different". Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people certainly get their share of being "different". Negative attitudes and perceptions of LGBT people damage their psychologies, alienate them from society and incite sometimes deadly violence against them.

Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity can be magnified for those of certain sexualities and genders. Lesbian, bisexual and transgender women in particular run an increased risk of suffering from discrimination and violence. They violate the common expectation that people will conform to generally accepted concepts of gender and gendered roles in two ways: both as women, and as lesbians, bisexuals or transgender women. In other words, lesbian, bisexual and transgender women experience double discrimination. The statistics show that transgender women are the victims in approximately four out of five transgender-related murders worldwide. Transwomen are also more likely to be the victim of random attacks, while transmen who are attacked are almost always assaulted by people they know. Femininity in transsexual women is noticed and punished much more harshly than the same behaviour in non-transsexual women.

The LGBT community likes to see itself as particularly modern and tolerant, but the truth is that even the LGBT community is not immune to sexism, discrimination and violence. Indeed, as with heterosexual relationships, same-sex relationships can turn violent. Arguing that they were "born women", many non-trans feminists resist associating with trans-people in public spaces, by sharing resources, or in other ways.

Mr Gross reminds us of the international law that states "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights". We should simply add to that that it is okay to be different. We, the parliamentarians at the Council of Europe, have the duty to send a clear message of respect and non-discrimination so that everyone – whether the same or different – can live in dignity in all our member states.

Original Link of this News Article: Gross Report on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Tags: human rights