Position paper
Policy brief
Published on
March 20, 2024

IGLYO Welcomes the CoE Commissioner for Human Rights’ Issue Paper on Gender Identity & Expression

A Welcome Set of Recommendations

We welcome the Issue Paper, entitled “Human Rights and Gender Identity and Expression”, published by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights last week.

This paper comes at a moment of increased threats experienced by trans and non-binary people, especially youth. The Commissioner for Human Rights offers an overview of the current international and regional human rights standards relating to the application of human rights law in matters related to gender identity, and examines the challenges faced by trans people in the enjoyment of our rights. 

It touches upon several areas of people’s lives (such as education), and pays specific attention to matters that have gained in recognition in recent years, such as the rights and interests of trans children and young people, the protection of non-binary people and interconnections with gender expression.  

We are pleased to see that, among other recommendations, the Commissioner calls on Council of Europe Member States to:

  1. Immediately repeal, and refrain from adopting, laws or policies, which victimise, discriminate against, or legitimise hatred against trans people, including bans on legal gender recognition, bans on access to trans-specific healthcare, and bans on the public discussion of LGBTI people.
  2. Adopt legislation which guarantees that trans people who want it have access to quick, transparent and accessible administrative procedures for legal gender recognition based on self-determination, also accessible to minors. 
  3. Ensure that trans people have effective and stigma-free access to trans-specific healthcare services.
  4. Recognise the identity of trans school-age children and students in school settings, regardless of their legal gender/sex, including by allowing them to use their own names and pronouns, dress as they wish, and participate in sports and other activities according to their gender identity and expression.
  5. Recognise that a well-founded fear of persecution based on gender identity and gender expression may be a valid ground for the granting of refugee status under national law, and ensure that trans refugees, asylum seekers and migrants have access to safe reception conditions, trans-specific healthcare services and legal gender recognition.
  6. Promote understanding and respect of trans and non-binary people through public outreach and awareness raising campaigns, as well as mandatory, comprehensive, scientifically based, and age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education in schools which covers the diversity of gender identity and gender expression.

The Issue Paper and related documents can be consulted here: Human rights of trans people: increased visibility and legal recognition contrast with lived experience of discrimination, violence - Commissioner for Human Rights (

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