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Dutch universities to give new diploma to trans people

in NETHERLANDS, 01/12/2010

After a case against the Universiteit van Amsterdam, the Dutch Minister for Education announced a change of policy for all educational institutions in the country. She will write them a letter, explaining that trans people should be allowed a new diploma with their corrected name and gender.

The case against his university was started by Justus Eisfeld, co-director of GATE – Global Action for Trans* Equality, after his university refused him a new diploma with this changed name and gender. The Minister for Education, van Bijsterveldt, announced the policy change in answers to parliamentary questions by social-democrat Members of Parliament Klijnsma en Jadnanansing.

In 2004 Eisfeld changed his legal name and subsequently gender and has tried to get a new diploma since. When the University refused, he started a case through the Equal Opportunities Commission. Today the Commission ruled that the refusal amounted to illegal indirect sex discrimination and advised the University to give out a new diploma.

‘I am very happy not only about my own diploma, but especially about the possibilities for all trans people to change their diplomas in the Netherlands’, said Justus Eisfeld in a statement.

The new diploma is important, because discrimination of trans people is rampant in the workplace, also in the Netherlands. Many employers do not know that the law prohibits discrimination of trans people. Eisfeld comments: ‘hopefully the illegality of trans discrimination in all EU member states will receive more attention. Knowledge is a first step towards a change of practice.’

The Equal Opportunities Commission and the Minister cited the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers ‘Recommendation on combating sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination’ as well as the Commissioner for Human Rights’ Issue Paper on Human Rights and Gender Identity. Both clearly state the rights of trans people to adequate documents, including diplomas.

The case was supported by GATE – Global Action for Trans* Equality, as well as Transgender Netwerk Nederland.

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